Report: Providence metro manufacturing on rebound, slowly

MANUFACTURING jobs in Rhode Island increased 1.4 percent between the first quarter of 2010 and the fourth quarter 2011. For a larger version of this image, click HERE.
Posted 5/10/12

WASHINGTON – Although the Providence-New Bedford-Fall River metro area holds only 0.5 percent of the nation’s 11.5 million manufacturing jobs, the metro area ranked 28th out of 100 in the U.S. for number of manufacturing jobs according to a new report comparing the largest metro areas in the country by the Brookings Institute.

The Providence metro ranked 28th out of 100 in the U.S. for the number of manufacturing jobs, 31st for manufacturing jobs as a percent of all jobs and 68th for the number of employees at the average manufacturing plant – 2009 numbers – in the Brookings analysis of Moody’s Analytics data.

The report, titled “Locating American Manufacturing: Trends in the Geography of Production,” was released Wednesday.

From 2000 to 2010, the Providence metro area saw a 44.4 percent drop in manufacturing jobs. The decline landed the metro 94th out of the 100 largest manufacturing metros in across the country.

Nationwide, manufacturing dropped 33.2 percent from 2000 to 2010, but between the first quarter of 2010 and the fourth quarter 2011, the U.S. saw an average increase in manufacturing of 2.7 percent.

The Providence-New Bedford-Fall River area saw a 1.4 percent increase in manufacturing during that period, earning it 57th place for recovery.

“The geographic clustering of companies in the same industry or related industries—along with the educational, R&D, business, and labor institutions that support them—promotes high wages and innovation,” said a release by the Brookings Institute adding that the same was true for manufacturing.

“It is a common belief that manufacturing is basically the same throughout the United States, that it has completely decentralized from its historic central locations, and that this decentralization matters little to the productivity of manufacturing firms,” the report stated.

“This report shows that such views are incorrect,” said the report.

According to the Brookings Report, American manufacturing is highly differentiated geographically and metropolitan areas differ greatly in their manufacturing industries, technology levels, wages and plant sizes.

In the Providence-New Bedford-Fall River metro area, 10.7 percent of manufacturing jobs were classified as “very high-tech” and 17.7 percent were classified as “moderately high-tech.”

Across the U.S., 16.1 percent of manufacturing jobs were classified as “very high-tech” and 18.6 percent were classified as “moderately high-tech.”

The Providence metro area ranked 47th for wages in “very high-tech” manufacturing. The average annual salary for “very high-tech” manufacturing workers was $76,727. The salary was $66,277 for “moderately high-tech” manufacturing, $53,529 for all manufacturing and an average salary of $44,374 for all jobs.

For the full report, visit

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