The share of local workers with jobs in manufacturing plunged from 40% in 1980 to 11% in 2014, a Fed researcher reports.
A new study illustrates just how drastically employment has plunged in Rhode Island’s historic industrial base over recent decades. Since 1980, the Providence metropolitan area has experienced the largest shift in the country away from manufacturing jobs and into work requiring college degrees, according to a paper by Stephan Whitaker, a research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. “In 1980, 40% of workers in the Providence metro area worked in manufacturing and 25% worked in degree-intensive fields,” Whitaker writes. “By 2014, manufacturing had dropped to just 11%, and degree-intensive jobs had risen to 47%.”