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Rhode Island Manufacturing Job Losses Accelerate In 2016

Contact: Jennifer Ratcliff
Manufacturers' News, Inc.
(847) 864-9440 ext. 241
jratcliff [at]

EVANSTON, Ill, March 27th, 2017/Manufacturers' News, Inc./--Manufacturing jobs in Rhode Island declined for a second straight year, according to industry data collected by Manufacturers' News, Inc. (MNI), a publisher of industrial databases and directories for all fifty states. MNI reports factory employment in Rhode Island fell by 580 jobs in 2016 or 1%, double the half percent decline the state suffered in 2015.

Rhode Island’s 1,596 manufacturers employ 58,283 in the state, reports MNI. Rhode Island’s manufacturing sector had made some headway following the recession, adding 1,910 industrial jobs between 2012 and 2014. However, the losses of the past two years have erased about half of those gains.

Rhode Island lags far behind other states in important site selection factors such as access to capital, business friendliness and infrastructure,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “However, the state’s educated workforce and growing focus on innovation has helped keep losses at bay, and has drawn the interest of a few key enterprises -- most notably the new Reebok facility slated to break ground this year.”

Reebok plans to return some of its sneaker manufacturing from Asia to the United States, and recently announced it would open a new high-tech sneaker factory in Rhode Island -- a major boon to the state’s ailing apparel sector.

Manufacturing job losses in Rhode Island were led by the fabricated metals sector, which shrank by 4.3% in 2016, and remains the state’s top industry by employment with 5,454 jobs. Second-ranked transportation equipment also posted a loss, down 1.5% to 5,343 jobs. Employment in the state’s third-ranked industrial machinery sector also declined, down 2.1% to 5,065 jobs.

Additional losses were reported in primary metals, down 9%; medical instruments/related products, down 3.5%; printing/publishing, down 3.4%; furniture/fixtures, down 3.3%; textiles/apparel, down 3%; electronics, down 2.9%; and chemicals, down 2.8%.

Industrial companies in Rhode Island announcing closures included Honeywell’s plant in Cranston; Microfibers, Inc. in Pawtucket; and American Kuhne, which plans to move its Ashaway operations to Pennsylvania.

Rhode Island’s employment decline would have been far worse, however, were it not for double-digit gains in food processing, up 18%, as well as stone/clay/glass, up 15%; and paper products, up 12%.

City data collected by MNI shows Providence remains the state’s top city by industrial employment, with 7,473 jobs, virtually unchanged over the year. Manufacturing jobs rose 6% in second-ranked North Kingstown to 7,066 workers, but declined 9% in third-ranked Pawtucket to 6,528. Cranston ranks fourth in the state with 5,126 workers, down 5%, and Warwick ranks fifth with 4,251, down 10%.

Established in 1912, MNI is the nation’s oldest and largest compiler of industrial information, offering tailored solutions to help customers connect with 430,000 manufacturers and suppliers. MNI’s industrial marketplace IndustryNet: is a one-stop resource that connects buyers with suppliers of 10,000 + products and services, and allows users to obtain competitive quotes, create and view company profiles, post company news releases, photos, videos, job openings, and more. MNI’s subscription service EZ Select: provides access to MNI’s live interactive database of manufacturers. For more information, contact MNI at 847-864-7000 or visit
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