January 2-Q Poll – Workforce Changes Anticipated by Rhode Island Manufacturers

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by | Feb 10, 2021

Polaris MEP Rhode Island Manufacturing benchmark pollPolaris MEP has introduced a new survey designed to check the pulse of the Rhode Island manufacturing community.

Each month we ask our industry two short questions on a timely topic. In January, the very first “2-Q Poll” for Rhode Island manufacturers focused on staffing levels. Companies were asked:

  1. How many employees do you currently have working in RI?
  2. In the next 3 months, how do you anticipate RI staffing levels will change?

Polaris MEP will use the 2-Q inputs to develop programs and partnerships that better support our state’s small and medium-sized manufacturing businesses. And, we’ll share data via this blog to help lawmakers, media and other stakeholders better understand this important sector.


Key Insights from January Poll

Answers to the inaugural 2-Q poll revealed:

  • The average number of RI-based workers at companies responding to the poll was 72. The median number was 31.

In the United States, statistics show that businesses with under 100 employees account for 98.2 percent of all businesses in the country, and those with fewer than 20 workers account for 89 percent of all U.S. businesses.


  • Respondents shared a mostly positive outlook for the next three months.

Only 1% of the manufacturers responding anticipated reducing employee counts a little. A total of 56% anticipate increasing their workforce.

  • A change in workforce is most likely to happen at companies with between 20 and 99 employees, or with 250 to 499 employees.

  • Roughly 60% of manufacturers responding from the Composites sector predict they will increase employee count “a lot.”

More than half of companies responding in each of the other industry sectors (with the exception of Chemical & Plastics) anticipate adding at least “a little” to their workforce in the next three months.


RI Manufacturers, Take the February Poll!

On January 25, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order (EO) to strengthen Buy American provisions. The EO also establishes a substantial role for the MEP National Network (MEPNN) in the new administration’s plans to bolster American manufacturing.

Polaris MEP is the MEPNN center for Rhode Island. This month’s 2-Q poll concerns government contracts — which companies are currently leveraging this sales channel? how can your MEP help you pursue this business?

To help shape future Polaris MEP programs and initiatives, we hope you’ll answer the February 2-Q Poll. All responses are confidential and aggregated.

The Polaris MEP 2-Q Poll: Two little questions. One BIG way to help Rhode Island’s manufacturing sector #BuildBackBetter in 2021.

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