Rhode Island has long been a manufacturing state. Both by value and by employment, manufacturing surpasses any other single economic activity. However, nonmanufacturing activities, including wholesale and retail trade, service industries, and government, together provide jobs for a greater number of workers and account for a greater share of the state's economy.

The Rhode Island quarterThe Rhode Island quarter features a sailboat on the waters of the state’s Narragansett Bay. Narragansett Bay is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean.

Roughly 20 per cent of the workers are engaged in manufacturing. The making of jewelry and silverware is the leading activity. Also important is the manufacturing of machinery, textiles, primary and fabricated metal products, instruments, chemicals, and electrical equipment.


Because of its small size and lack of good farmland, Rhode Island is one of the nation's least agriculturally productive states. Farms occupy only about 9 per cent of the land and are generally small, averaging about 90 acres (36 hectares). Greenhouse and nursery products, dairy products, eggs, and potatoes are the leading farm products in terms of cash receipts. Most of the farm production is sold in nearby urban areas for local use.


Many kinds of edible fish and shellfish are caught in the Atlantic by Rhode Island fishermen. Flounders, lobsters, and cod are, by total value, the chief catches. Point Judith is the state's leading fishing port.


Rhode Island is densely settled and has a well-developed transportation system. Interstate 95 crosses the state northeast-southwest and provides the main highway route. Highway bridges connect the islands of Conanicut and Rhode Island to the mainland; ferries link Block and Prudent islands with the mainland. Amtrak and several freight railways operate in the state.

Trunk and regional airlines provide service to and from Rhode Island, mainly through T. F. Green Airport south of Providence. Providence has one of New England's busiest seaports.