Composites Alliance of Rhode Island | FAQs: Economic Impact Study on Rhode Island’s Composites Sector
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04 Sep FAQs: Economic Impact Study on Rhode Island’s Composites Sector

In 2018, the Composites Alliance worked with members of the University of Rhode Island faculty to produce an Economic Impact Study on Rhode Island’s statewide composites sector. See below for FAQs on the study and its key data points, along with a link to the study for more details. 

What makes this study significant?

Although Rhode Island has a long history as a pioneer in composites manufacturing, stretching back to the early days of building fiberglass boats, this study conducted in 2018 is the first to both define the makeup and to measure the economic impact of the Rhode Island composites sector. This is vital information for promoting the sector’s combined expertise and capabilities. This study also provides critical data that will be used to educate policymakers about the impact this sector has on the state’s economy.

Based on this study, how would you define the R.I. composites sector?

The R.I. composites sector includes 81 firms, generating $295.74 million in annual gross sales and employing 1,545 people. Approximately three quarters of R.I. composites-sector firms are engaged in some form of manufacturing or fabrication, balanced by a smaller number of suppliers and professional-services firms. None of the businesses in the study are chemical manufacturers of composites raw materials; instead, all are engaged in the distribution, fabrication, manufacturing and construction parts of the supply chain.

Which businesses category makes up the largest subsector of the R.I. composites sector?

Boat Building & Repair is the largest subsector, with Composites Manufacturing (specializing in non-marine applications) a close second. Both categories are made up of 31 firms and have roughly the same number of jobs. Boat Building & Repair, however, logs higher sales than Composites Manufacturing ($129.7 million versus $107.7 million).

What are some of the key data points?

The R.I. composites sector includes 81 firms, generating $295.74 million in annual gross sales and employing 1,545 people. The study also looks at each subsector of the R.I. composites business and counts the number of firms in each subsector along with the number of jobs, gross sales, and other values.

When it comes to jobs in this sector, the R.I. composites-sector firms have 66% higher employment per firm than the state average and 29% higher labor income per firm, which is a combined measure of wages and profits.

The study also measures the “total effect” on the state’s economy, which represents the answer to the hypothetical question, “What would the Rhode Island economy lose if the R.I. composites sector were to disappear?” The R.I. composites sector has an economic output of $469.21 million (a projection that combines direct, indirect, and induced effects).

Who did the Composites Alliance partner with to conduct this study?

To conduct this study, the Alliance partnered with University of Rhode Island Associate Professor Dr. Thomas Sproul and PhD Student Clayton Michaud. The Composites Alliance’s working relationship with the University of Rhode Island continues to prove invaluable in our efforts to help move this statewide sector forward. The economic impact study was made possible with support from a U.S. Economic Development Administration Planning Grant.

Click here to read the study, “The Economic Impact of Rhode Island’s Composites Sector.” For any questions about this study, contact Susan Daly at the Composites Alliance of Rhode Island (email / 401-396-9619).