Rhode Island Small Business Statistics

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Last updated January 6, 2023
Written by Dmytro Kondratiev
Editor, lawyer
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The state of Rhode Island can boast its perfect location in the Northeast, along with all the advantages of major commercial centers. That said, Ocean State allows you to reach Boston in under 45 minutes, and New York City in under 3 hours.

Rhode Island works hard to empower new small businesses by offering access to funding, red tape reduction, and other business tools that enable growth. The state provides easy access to innovative tech infrastructure with the best broadband service in the U.S.

Also, you can easily reach out to world-renowned companies, all kinds of transportation, and top-notch universities. This is where any type of small business can find a skilled labor force and promising talents to push the boundaries of productivity.

RI offers a number of incentive programs and all types of business assistance for new and existing businesses. These include:

  • The Innovation Voucher program (companies with up to 500 employees can get up to $50,000 from the state);
  • The Qualified Jobs Incentive program (annual, redeemable tax credits for up to 10 years);
  • The Rebuild Rhode Island program for real estate projects (redeemable tax credits to cover up to 20%-30% of your project costs);
  • Tax increment financing for eligible projects in case of a financing gap.

Moreover, the state helps new companies connect to various workforce development programs, identify financial incentives and tax credits, navigate state and local zoning, and obtain the necessary permits, licenses, and regulatory concerns to grow their business.

The Plantation State can also help your find the necessary resources that could help your bottom line, e.g. the Renewable Energy Fund or Opportunity Zones.

RI is focused on the success of all businesses in the state, including yours. With that said, let's take a look at the numbers. This article provides the latest information about the most interesting Rhode Island small business statistics in 2022.

Small Businesses in Rhode Island: Key Takeaways

  • As of October 2022, there were 108,360 small businesses (98.9%) of Rhode Island businesses and 227,699 small business employees, which counts for 51.2% of the total number of employees in Rhode Island;
  • Rhode Island’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.4% in October 2022;
  • RI exported $242M and imported $1.06B in August 2022. This resulted in a negative trade balance of $817M;
  • Total nonfarm employment in the state fell to 496,200 in October 2022;
  • The state's labor force counted 577,600 in October 2022;
  • In 2022, RI employs 564,169 people, which ranks it 43rd out of all 50 US states;
  • In October 2022, the number of unemployed RI residents was 19,500;
  • Over 2022, Rhode Island jobs are up 12,700, led by the Health Care & Social Assistance (+2,700), Construction (+2,000), and Professional & Technical Services (+2,000) sectors;
  • The number of Rhode Island-based jobs increased from 488,000 in December 2021 to 491,700 in March 2022;
  • The filing fee to register a domestic LLC in Rhode Island is $150;
  • RI's current self-employment tax rate in the state is 15.3%. The state does not have a franchise tax

Nebraska 2022 Economy Statistics from May 2022 to October 2022

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, from May 2022 to October 2022, Rhode Island’s economy, including labor force data and nonfarm wage & salary employment data, looked as represented in the table below. 

Data SeriesMay2022June2022July 2022August 2022September 2022October 2022
Labor Force Data
Civilian Labor Force (number of persons, in thousands, seasonally adjusted)570.1 571.9573.3575.1576.8(P) 577.6
Employment (number of persons, in thousands, seasonally adjusted) 553.6 556.2558.0558.7559.1(P)558.1
Unemployment (number of persons, in thousands, seasonally adjusted) 16.5 15.715.3 16.317.7(P)19.5
Unemployment Rate (in percent, seasonally adjusted.) 2.9 2.72.72.83.1(P) 3.4
Nonfarm Wage & Salary Employment
Total Nonfarm (number of jobs, in thousands, seasonally adjusted) 496.4496.1496.3498.5497.4(P) 496.2
12-month % change3.73.32.63.32.6(P) 2.6
Mining and Logging (number of jobs, in thousands, seasonally adjusted) 0.20.20.20.20.2(P) 0.2
12-month % change 0.00.00.0  0.00.0(P)0.0
Construction (number of jobs, in thousands, seasonally adjusted) 21.821.921.922.322.3(P) 22.3
12-month % change9.510.19.010.49.9(P) 9.9
Manufacturing (number of jobs, in thousands, seasonally adjusted)   40.140.340.540.540.3(P) 39.9
12-month % change 3.13.32.82.82.0(P) 1.0
Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (number of jobs, in thousands, seasonally adjusted) 77.176.675.975.975.6P) 76.2
12-month % change 2.71.70.70.7  0.3(P) 1.9
Information (number of jobs, in thousands, seasonally adjusted)   5.55.65.85.75.7(P) 5.7
12-month % change 3.87.73.61.81.8(P) 0.0
Financial Activities (number of jobs, in thousands, seasonally adjusted) 33.834.134.234.334.6(P) 35.0
12-month % change-2.3-1.4-1.7-1.4-0.6(P) 2.3
Professional & Business Services (number of jobs, in thousands, seasonally adjusted) 70.569.970.0  70.171.0(P) 70.2
12-month % change 2.82.61.72.32.9(P) 2.5
Education & Health Services (number of jobs, in thousands, seasonally adjusted) 104.9105.1105.0105.3  106.1(P) 105.5
12-month % change 2.92.52.8  3.0  3.8(P) 3.4
Leisure & Hospitality (number of jobs, in thousands, seasonally adjusted) 56.856.857.057.455.7(P) 55.2
12-month % change 11.810.3  8.4    8.1  4.5(P) 2.8
Other Services (number of jobs, in thousands, seasonally adjusted) 22.221.921.721.721.8 (P) 22.1
12-month % change 8.37.44.8  3.84.3    (P) 3.8
Government (number of jobs, in thousands, seasonally adjusted)   63.563.764.165.164.1    (P) 63.9
12-month % change 0.80.30.54.20.6    (P) 0.9


*P = Preliminary

Overview of the Rhode Island Economy

According to the Executive Office of Commerce, between December 2021 and March 2022, Rhode Island’s unemployment rate fell from 4.5% to 3.4% (the largest decline among all 50 states).

  • The number of Rhode Island-based jobs increased from 488,000 in December 2021 to 491,700 in March 2022;
  • The net number of Rhode Island-based jobs increased by 3,700, to 491,700 jobs from December 2021 to March 2022;
  • Private sector job growth was particularly strong in the sectors of Construction (1,400 jobs added), Retail Trade (1,300 jobs added), Education & Health Services (900 jobs added), and Leisure & Hospitality (500 jobs added).

Rhode Island Unemployment Rates in October 2022 by Sector

According to Rhode Island's Department of Labor and Training, in October 2022, the state’s economy recovered 96,500 (89.3%) of the jobs that were lost during the shutdown.

  • Construction, Manufacturing, Professional & Technical Services, Transportation & Utilities, and Wholesale Trade sectors reported more jobs in October 2022 than they had in the month before the pandemic shutdown;
  • The state's labor force counted 577,600 in October 2022 (up 800 over the month and up 6,100 from October 2021);
  • The number of unemployed RI residents was 19,500 in October 2022 (up 1,800 from September 2022);
  • Total nonfarm employment in the state fell to 496,200 in October 2022;
  • Over 2022, Rhode Island jobs are up 12,700, led by the Health Care & Social Assistance (+2,700), Construction (+2,000), and Professional & Technical Services (+2,000) sectors; 
  • A significant increase also happened in the Accommodation & Food Services sector (up 1,200 jobs from October 2021);
  • Smaller annual job gains were noticed in the Educational Services (+800), Financial Activities (+800), and Other Services (+800) sectors;
  • Annual job gains were reported in the Government (+600), Manufacturing (+400), and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+300) sectors;
  • Production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $24.42 per hour, up $0.67 from September, and up $1.39 from October 2021;
  • A gain of 300 jobs each was reported in the Other Services, Professional & Technical, and Transportation & Utility sectors;
  • Smaller but more positive job gains occurred in the Retail Trade (+200), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+100), and Wholesale Trade (+100) sectors;
  • Jobs in the Financial Activity sector rose by 400, marking 5 consecutive months of gains totaling 1,200 jobs;
  • A loss of 600 jobs was reported in the Accommodation & Food Services sector;
  • Back-to-back monthly job losses were reported in the Manufacturing sector.

Nebraska Import & Export Statistics

According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, RI exported $242M and imported $1.06B in August 2022. This resulted in a negative trade balance of $817M

  • The main export country destination of the state was Canada ($38.5M). The main import country destination was Germany ($231M); 
  • As for RI's product exports/imports, Jewellery & Part of Precious Metal Except for Silver ($24.5M) and Medium Sized cars ($385M) were the main export/import industries, respectively;
  • Rhode Island's export rates have decreased by $-8.55M (-3.42%), from $250M to $242M, between August 2021 and the same month in 2022;
  • As for import rates of Ocean State, during the same period, they have increased by $281M (36.1%), from $778M to $1.06B;
  • Rhode Island's top exports in August 2022 were Precious Metal Scraps ($33.6M), Jewellery ($28.9M), Scrap Iron ($21.8M), Vaccines, blood, antisera, toxins and cultures ($18.5M), and Precious Metal Compounds ($7.31M);
  • In the same month, the top imports of the imports were Cars ($510M), Refined Petroleum ($216M), Medical Instruments ($55.4M), Orthopedic Appliances ($18M), and Petroleum Gas ($15.1M);
  • Apart from Canada ($38.5M), the state exported mostly to the Dominican Republic ($25.6M), Italy ($25M), Turkey ($22.1M), and Ireland ($17.3M) in August 2022;
  • Most imports in the same month were from Germany ($231M), Mexico ($129M), Netherlands ($113M), Japan ($77M), and Slovakia ($76.5M);
  • The decrease in RI's yearly exports was primarily due to a decrease in exports to Switzerland ($-24.8M or -95.5%), Japan ($-18.4M or -82.3%), and Saudi Arabia ($-8.63M or -97.1%) in August 2022;
  • As for product exports, there was a decrease in Vaccines, blood, antisera, toxins, and cultures ($-30.7M or -78.2%), Precious Metal Scraps ($-5.29M or -8.59%), and Gold ($-4.81M or -80.4%). 
  • In its turn, the increase in RI's yearly imports in August 2022, was explained mainly by an increase in imports from Costa Rica ($25.3M or 263%), Netherlands ($24.2M or 1.95k%), and France ($10.9M or 165%);
  • There was also an increase in product imports in Medical Instruments ($18.9M or 91.4%), Silver ($6.53M or 769%), and Commodities not elsewhere specified ($3.14M or 81.5%).

Top 7 Fastest Growing Companies in Rhode Island

According to Growjo, the fastest growing companies in Rhode Island in 2022 are:

Company CityIndustryEmployees Revenue
Providence Equity PartnersProvidenceFinance 237 $53.5M/year
North Kingstown School DstNorth KingstownEducation157 $31.1M/year
SquadLocker WarwickRetail 118 $26.8M/year
Feast and Fettle ProvidenceFood 60 $14.6M/year
Coventry Public School Coventry Education     296$58.6M/year
Upward Health Providence Digital Health83 $11.6M/year
LGC and DProvidence Accounting 155$27.8M/year

Top 10 Largest Companies in Rhode Island

According to Zippia, RI's top 10 largest companies in 2022 are:

Company IndustryHeadquarters Revenue Employees
CVS Health Healthcare Woonsocket $268.7B 203,000
Cohoes Fashions  Clothing StoreCranston $710,000 25 
United Natural Foods Grocery Store Providence $26.6B19,000
Citizens Financial Group Finance Providence $6.1B 18,100
State of Rhode Island Government Providence$5.5B12,000
Nortek Electrical and Electronic ManufacturingProvidence$2.5B 11,400
NTK Holdings Lifestyle InnovationsProvidenceN/A<50
Brown University Education Providence$830.0M4,654
Care New EnglandHospitals Providence$1.0B 8,000
University of Rhode Island EducationKingston $170.0M 5,472

RI's Top 10 Largest Industries in 2022 by Revenue

According to IBISWorld, Commercial Banking, Colleges & Universities and Property, Casualty & Direct Insurance are Rhode Island's top 3 largest industries in 2022 by revenue. Thus, they generated $7.3b, $6.3b, and $5.8b, respectively.

RankIndustry2022 Revenue
1Commercial Banking$7.3B
2Colleges & Universities$6.3B
3Property, Casualty, and Direct Insurance$5.8B
4Hospitals$5.5B
5Public Schools$4.8B
6Third-Party Administrators & Insurance Claims Adjusters$3.6B
7Health & Medical Insurance$3.2B
8New Car Dealers$3.0B
9Supermarkets & Grocery Stores$2.9B
10Jewelry & Watch Wholesaling$2.4B

Top 10 Companies Headquartered in RI by Employment

According to IBISWorld, in 2022, Rhode Island's top 3 largest companies by employment are Lifespan Health System, Care New England Health System, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence. Thus, these companies employed 15,000, 7,500, and 7,500 people, respectively.

RankCompany2022 Employment2022 Employment %
1Lifespan Health System15,0002.7%
2Care New England Health System7,5001.3%
3Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence7,5001.3%
4CVS Health Corporation7,5001.3%
5Brown University4,7650.8%
6United States Postal Service2,6530.5%
7Walmart Inc.2,5830.5%
8The Home Depot, Inc.1,7540.3%
9Amazon.Com, Inc.1,0000.2%
10Target Corp9560.2%

Rhode Island Biotechnology Industry Statistics in 2022

According to IBISWorld, the biotechnological industry in the state is expected to decline to $493.6M over the 5 years to 2022, while the national industry will likely grow during the same period.

  • Rhode Island market size: $514.2M;
  • Number of businesses in Rhode Island: 13;
  • Rhode Island industry employment: 1,218.

RI LLC Formation Statistics & Fees

The most popular business structure in the United States is a limited liability company (LLC).

To legally open a Rhode Island LLC, you will need to complete and file your Articles of Organization (i.e. the main registration document) with the Secretary of State. Before you do that, make sure you check our list of the main fees and documents to consider when registering an LLC in RI:

  • A Rhode Island LLC can be formed by filing your Articles of Organization (also known as a Certificate of Organization) with the Secretary of State by mail or online;
  • The filing fee in RI is $150 (by mail or online) for domestic LLCs. The same goes for professional LLCs (PLLCs) and foreign LLCs;
  • To keep the state of Rhode Island up-to-date about your company and your business, you will need to file your annual report each year. The annual report fee is $50. Note that the state will charge a $50 penalty if you fail to file on time);
  • DBA. If you would like to register a “doing business as” (DBA) name for your Rhode Island LLC for your marketing purposes, you will need to file a Fictitious Business Name Statement with the Secretary of State. The filing fee is $50;
  • The average cost of resident agent (also known as “registered agent”) services in Rhode Island is $125 per year on average;
  • Ocean State does not require LLCs to obtain a statewide general business license. However, the cost of specific business licenses for LLCs in Nebraska can vary from $80 to 750$;
  • In RI, to reserve a business name for your LLC, you will need to file an Application for Reservation of Entity Name and pay $50 (the name can be reserved for up to 120 days prior to the formation date of your LLC);
  • To obtain certified copies of your registration documents, you will need to pay $10 (+ $0.15 for each page);
  • To get your Certificate of Good Standing, you will need to pay $22 if you order a digital copy of the document, or $20 if your order a hard copy by mail, by phone, or in person;
  • Regardless of how long you run your business in the calendar year, Rhode Island charges a minimal annual tax of $400, no matter if you conduct your business (or make a profit) or not. Rhode Island has a statewide sales tax of 7%.

Rhode Island’s Employment Rates in 2022 by Sector

SectorEmployment2022 Growth (%)Annualized Growth 2017-2022
Healthcare and Social Assistance98,5851.9%0.4%
Educational Services87,4520.7%2.1%
Retail Trade58,7012.9%0.5%
Information46,4016.6%3.6%
Accommodation and Food Services45,9937.8%1.7%
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services40,7864.2%3.0%
Administration, Business Support and Waste Management Services30,2093.8%3.6%
Construction27,9091.2%2.6%
Other Services (except Public Administration)22,9622.7%1.3%
Transportation and Warehousing21,4298.8%7.1

Rhode Island LLC Business Taxes in 2022

  • RI's income tax rates range from 3.75% to 5.99%;
  • The current self-employment tax rate in the state is 15.3%;
  • The state does not have a franchise tax

You can learn more about additional estimated taxes to the state and federal governments on the IRS website. Also, use the state's Business Assistant on the official website to estimate the regulatory costs of your business.

For more information on the Fee Schedule for Rhode Island LLCs, visit this page.
Also, if you’re planning to open a business entity in Ocean State, you can check out a list of useful business resources that provide useful information for emerging and existing small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups.