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Quarterly Census of RI Employment and Wages
Annual 2016 City/Town Analysis
Download (xlsx)(pdf)


Rhode Island private sector employment averaged 414,501 in 2016, an increase of 3,465 (+0.8%) jobs from 2015. The employment growth in 2016 marks six consecutive year-over-year job gains, totaling over 27,400 private sector jobs. The last time the Ocean State experienced six consecutive year-over-year private sector job gains, was between 1996 and 2001, when 31,000 jobs were added. 

In all, twenty-six of the thirty-nine Rhode Island cities and towns reported employment growth in 2016, while thirteen cities/towns reported employment losses.   

The 2016 average annual wage in the private sector was $49,558, an increase of $823 (+1.7%) from the $48,736 earned in 2015. Seventeen of the nineteen private industry sectors reported an annual wage increase between 2015 and 2016. The Management of Companies & Enterprises and Mining & Logging sectors were the lone employment sectors to report an annual wage loss from 2015.  

City/Town Analysis - Private sector

Private sector employment (RI residents and non-residents employed within East Providence’s city limit) in East Providence experienced a gain of 1,107 (+5.8%) jobs between 2015 and 2016, the largest increase of its kind among all Rhode Island communities. Within East Providence, the Finance & Insurance sector added 763 (+33.7%) jobs from 2015, while the Accommodation & Food Services (+129) and Manufacturing (+124) sectors also reported sizable employment gains. Cranston (+484), Lincoln (+432), Johnston (+375) and Providence (+347) also reported notable private sector employment growth during this period. 

The municipalities of Little Compton (+9.6%), Burrillville (+6.3%) and Warren (+5.9%) experienced the largest employment increase on a percentage basis from 2015.

Pawtucket lost 452 (-2.1%) private sector jobs between 2015 and 2016, the largest numeric employment decline among Rhode Island’s thirty-nine cities and towns. A loss of 406 jobs was reported Smithfield, followed by Woonsocket (-257), Portsmouth (-117) and Bristol (-112).

Smithfield experienced the largest employment decrease on a percentage basis as private sector employment fell by 2.8 percent from 2015. 

In Rhode Island, over $20.5 billion in private sector wages was earned in 2016, an increase of $509.8 million (+2.5%) from 2015. As noted earlier, the average annual wage in 2016 was $49,558, a gain of $823 (+1.7%) from 2015. The 2016 average weekly wage in the private sector increased to $953 or $16 (+1.7%) more than the $937 earned in 2015. 

Employees working in West Greenwich earned an average annual wage of $78,000 in 2016, the highest private sector average annual wage among all Rhode Island cities and towns. Smithfield ($77,832), Woonsocket ($64,321), Portsmouth ($56,900) and Providence ($55,868) also reported sizable annual earnings in 2016.

2016 Annual City & Town Analysis

Note: Quarterly bonuses and exercised stock options are included in the calculation and therefore impact the average annual wage.


RI Department of Labor and Training
Labor Market Information
Center General Complex
1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920

Phone: (401) 462-8740
Fax (401) 462-8766
TTY via RI Relay: 711
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