Rhode Island marine trades economic impact study released

The Rhode Island Marine Trades Association, working with University of Rhode Island Associate Professor Dr. Thomas Sproul and PhD Student Clayton Michaud, has completed an economic impact study of the R.I. marine trades.

The study estimates jobs, gross sales, and economic impacts of the R.I. marine trades — making the resultant data a critical building block of RIMTA’s advocacy work.

The study also breaks down the Rhode Island marine industry into subsectors, providing weighted benchmarks for different areas of the marine trades.

By the numbers, the Rhode Island marine industry is comprised of 1,712 firms that generate $2.649 billion in annual gross sales and employ 13,337 people.

Put into context, the statewide marine-trades sector makes up about 4.7 percent of the firms in the Rhode Island economy, demonstrating how significant a part of our state’s economy the industry is.

This sector includes firms in the areas of boat building and repair, retail boat and equipment sales, marinas, marine construction, manufacturing and supply, diving and salvage, charter and cruise services, and even professional service firms.

Marine Services & Supply is the largest subsector, with 431 firms generating $583.6 million in gross sales annually and 2,757 jobs.

The second largest is Marinas, Docks & Yacht Clubs, comprised of 269 firms and generating 2,743 jobs and annual gross sales of $367.43 million.

Third is Charter and Cruise Services, with 306 firms generating $336.24 million per year and 1,965 jobs.

This report on the study has a complete breakdown on all subsectors in the R.I. marine trades, with information on the number of firms in each subsector, number of jobs, and other data.

The firms in in the sector are generally smaller than the average in the economy as a whole, but these marine businesses operate with larger labor income per firm.

This is based on a combination of higher wages and higher profitability, on average, in the marine trades despite fewer employees per firm.

Since the marine trades compete for skilled talent with so many other business sectors in a national economy with current low-unemployment situation, this is an important data point.

To conduct this study, RIMTA partnered with University of Rhode Island Associate Professor Dr. Thomas Sproul and PhD Student Clayton Michaud.

The economic impact study was made possible with support from a U.S. Economic Development Administration Planning Grant.

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