PROVIDENCE BUSINESS NEWS: NEC report: Financial services produce 9% of R.I. economy
As originally appearing in Providence Business News

BY ELI SHERMAN
PBN STAFF WRITER
TWITTER: @ELI_SHERMAN

PROVIDENCE – Although Rhode Island’s financial services industry accounted for 4.2 percent of direct employment in 2015, the industry contributed 9 percent of the state’s gross domestic product, ranking 8th most in the country.

That’s according to a new report called “The New England Financial Services Industry: Around the Corner and Around the World,” released on Tuesday by The New England Council. The study explores the financial services industry’s economic impact on the six-state region.

“As this study demonstrates, the financial sector is one of our region’s strongest job-generating, growth-producing industries, with a tremendous footprint in each of the six New England states,” wrote James T. Brett, president and CEO of The New England Council, at the top of the report.

The study explores trends specifically within the finance and insurance sector, which includes asset management, insurance and banking. The research shows the sector in 2015 comprised 375,460 direct jobs, ranking No. 7 among all industries in New England. The number of financial services jobs regionwide fell about 6.5 percent during the Great Recession. It realized a net gain of 1.3 percent in 2015, marking the first post-recession increase.

Rhode Island highlights include it ranking third in the United States for actuaries as a percentage of total state employment, and it having added jobs in the financial services industry each year since 2011.

The report, which Brett says is intended to be a “factual resource,” with no policy recommendations, does ask policymakers to be mindful of the financial industry when considering legislation that might impact it, and for the public to keep an open mind when considering the importance of the industry’s role in New England communities.

“It is our hope that readers will gain a stronger understanding of, and appreciation for, the role that the financial services industry plays in enhancing the quality of life and economic well-being in New England,” Brett wrote.

The New England Council is a regional business advocacy group, formed to promote economic growth and quality of life in New England. For more information about the report, readers can visit newenglandcouncil.com.

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