That dollar amount represents an 8.2% increase from $2.68 billion four years earlier in 2019.
Year over year, the overall value of Rhode Islander exports flatlined thanks to a -1.9% slowdown compared to $2.95 billion during 2021.
Rhode Island ranks among America’s 10 smallest exporters by state lagging front-runners including Texas, California, Louisiana, New York State and Illinois. The value of Rhode Island’s exports equals 0.1% of the United States’ overall exported products for 2022, down from 0.2% one year earlier.
Based on research from Statista, Rhode Island’s exported products represent 5.2% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product in 2022 ($55.4 billion).
Given Rhode Island’s population of 1.094 million people, its total $2.89 billion in 2022 exports translates to roughly $2,600 for every resident in the Ocean State. That dollar metric lags the average $2,700 per capita in 2021.
Rhode Island’s unemployment rate was 3.1% at the end of March 2023, down from 3.2% at February 2022 per YCharts.
Rhode Island’s Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Rhode Island global shipments during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Rhode Island.
Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.
- Miscellaneous precious metal scrap: US$418.6 million (14.5% of Rhode Island’s exports)
- Imitation jewelry (precious metal): $288.8 million (10%)
- Immunological products (unmixed): $218.4 million (7.5%)
- Iron or steel scrap: $199.5 million (6.9%)
- Gold scrap: $94.3 million (3.3%)
- Gold compounds: $82 million (2.8%)
- Silver powder: $67.7 million (2.3%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: $54 million (1.9%)
- Jewelry items containing silver: $41.3 million (1.4%)
- Miscellaneous chemical products, residuals: $38.7 million (1.3%)
Rhode Island’s top 10 exports accounted for over half (51.9%) of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Posting the strongest gains from 2021 to 2022 were Rhode Island’s shipments of miscellaneous food preparations via a 231.4% advance.
In second place were Rhode Islander exports of miscellaneous chemical products and residuals (up 34.7% from 2021) ahead of exported gold waste and scrap (up 22.5%) then iron or steel waste and scrap (up 15.2%).
Year over year, the severest decliners among Rhode Island’s top 10 exported products were gold compounds (down -32.7%) and silver powder (down -31.3%).
More Key Facts about Rhode Island’s International Trade
Rhode Island incurred an overall -$7.15 billion deficit exporting and importing products during 2022. That dollar amount reflects a 10.3% increase from -$6.48 billion in red ink for 2021.
Another way of saying surplus or deficit is positive or negative net exports. In a nutshell, the term “net exports” quantifies the amount by which foreign spending on a state’s goods or services exceeds or lags that same state’s spending on foreign goods or services.
Below are Rhode Island’s top 10 import products highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2022.
- Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): US$3.1 billion (30.6% of Rhode Island’s imports)
- Light petroleum oils (not biodiesel): $1.87 billion (18.6%)
- Medical/surgical/veterinarian instruments, appliances: $408.8 million (4.1%)
- Large automobiles (piston engine): $361.3 million (3.6%)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils (not crude nor biodiesel): $350.9 million (3.5%)
- Medical needles, catheters: $346.3 million (3.4%)
- Vehicles powered by electric motor only: $260.7 million (2.6%)
- Artificial joints, parts, accessories: $227.7 million (2.3%)
- Small automobiles (piston engine): $203.6 million (2%)
- Petroleum bitumen: $138.6 million (1.4%)
Rhode Island has highly negative net exports in the international trade of automobiles and petroleum products. In turn, these cashflows indicate Rhode Island’s competitive disadvantages under those product categories.
Rhode Island’s Major Trade Partners
The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchased almost three-quarters (72.4%) worth of the total value of products exported from Rhode Island during 2022.
- Canada: US$466.6 million (16.1% of Rhode Island’s exports)
- Italy: $406.3 million (14%)
- Dominican Republic: $316.1 million (10.9%)
- Germany: $159.7 million (5.5%)
- Mexico: $149.7 million (5.2%)
- Turkey: $144.4 million (5%)
- mainland China: $143.7 million (5%)
- Ireland: $134 million (4.6%)
- Japan: $90.4 million (3.1%)
- Singapore: $83.9 million (2.9%)
Rhode Island’s top trade partners in North America (Canada and Mexico) consumed 21.3% of the overall value of exported goods from the Ocean State.
In comparison, exports from Rhode Island to major European importers was 24.2% (Italy, Germany and Ireland), with another 16% going to leading customers in Asia (Turkey, mainland China, Japan and Singapore).
Rhode Islander Export Companies
Eight Rhode Island-based corporations rank among Fortune 1000 Companies, a list that showcases America’s largest businesses. Selected examples are listed below.
- Hasbro (toys, games, sports equipment)
- Nortek (air conditioning goods, safety technology)
- Textron (aerospace, security, advanced techologies)
- United Natural Foods (natural, organic, specialty foods)
Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of the international trade-related products or services which each business sells.
Rhode Island’s capital is Providence, a city nicknamed the “Creative Capital” and “Renaissance City”.
See also Oklahoma’s Top 10 Exports, North Carolina’s Top 10 Exports, Missouri’s Top 10 Exports, Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Exports and Mississippi’s Top 10 Exports
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