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Rhode Island Economy


Rhode Island is the smallest state and as such does not support large agricultural pursuits.

In terms of revenue generated Rhode Island's top five agricultural products are greenhouse and nursery products, sweet corn, dairy products, potatoes, and cattle and calves.


Milk is the third-ranking agricultural product of the state. Dairy products account for about 5% of Rhode Island's total agricultural receipts.

Beef cattle, hogs, and chickens are raised in the state. Chicken eggs produce important revenue.

Honey is also an important product of the state.


Greenhouse and nursery products such as sod, ornamental trees, shrubs and other products account for more than half of the state's agricultural income.

Sweet corn is an important crop in Rhode Island and generates about 6% of the state's total agricultural receipts.

Potatoes, apples, and hay are also important to the state. The state fruit is the Rhode Island Greening apple.

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Manufacturers add value to raw products by creating manufactured items. For example, cotton cloth becomes more valuable than a boll of cotton through manufacturing processes.

Rhode Island's leading manufactured product is electrical equipment, which includes surge protectors, light bulbs and lighting fixtures.

Jewelry and silverware follow in second place. Rhode Island is a leading jewelry producer with around 1,000 manufacturers. Costume jewelry is of particular value.

Rhode Island also manufactures computer and electronics products that include microchips and search and navigation equipment.


Mining is an extremely small part of the Rhode Island economy, contributing less than 1% of the gross state product. Stone and sand and gravel are mined in the state.


The Rhode Island fishing industry delivers a catch that includes a variety of fish, mollusks and shellfish. Lobster is the most valuable of these.

Other important catches are anglerfish, clams, cod, flounder, scup, squid, whiting and yellowfish.


The leading service industry in Rhode Island is the finance, insurance and real estate group. Providence is an important New England financial center. Some large banking and insurance companies have major operations in the state.

The community, business and personal services group is Rhode Island's second-ranked service industry. Income is generated by a variety of businesses, including private research facilities, law firms, computer programming companies and repair shops.

Ranking third is the wholesale trade (automobiles, groceries, jewelry, petroleum products) and retail trade (department stores, automobile dealerships, food stores) service group.


Michael R. H. Swanson and Stanford E. Demars, "Rhode Island," World Book Online Americas Edition, http://www.worldbookonline.com/wbol/wbPage/na/ar/co/467440, August 15, 2001.

U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Agricultural Statistics Service, "Rhode Island State Agriculture Overview, 2004", 3 January 2006, <http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Ag_Overview/AgOverview_RI.pdf> (12 January 2006)

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