The grime on Terry Allen's hands has built up over the 37 years he has worked at General Dynamics Electric Boat.
"I'm a shipfitter so I build things," he said as he reflected on countless hours he has spent fashioning parts for submarines.
"I like my job," he said. In fact, he has never looked for another one. It has been a while, though, since he has seen anything like the company's new hiring spree.
"Oh, not in probably what six or seven years maybe," he said.
The Navy has doubled production of Virginia-class fast-attack nuclear submarines so General Dynamics Electric Boat will hire 450 new tradesmen to do the extra work.
It represents one of the few bright spots in private sector hiring -- the latest report from the Labor Department shows the overwhelming majority of the 431,000 jobs gained last month were temporary Census workers. Just 41,000 new jobs came from the private sector.
While hardly insignificant, 450 new hires is a small fraction of the number of new jobs needed each month to keep pace with the number of entrants into the labor force at a time hiring by the private sector appears to be sputtering.
"It seems that the private sector just didn't get a lot of traction," said John Sylvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo.
"Private sector job growth was only 41,000 and that was far below expectations," he said. "The total number, 431,000, was about a 100,000 to 150,000 below the consensus so I would say this was a disappointing report."
The new General Dynamics jobs represent the most significant hiring in Rhode Island in at least three years.
"We're going to need to produce more product and to produce more product it's going to require us to bring more people in," said Bill Frydryk, the site manager. "People with a track record for welding, for pipefitting, for shipfitting."
Sub Plant Hiring Good News for Recession-Battered Rhode Island
At 12.5 percent, Rhode Island has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
"It has been a down time," Frydryk said. "This is the first bit of real good news."
Workers at Electric Boat said the new jobs available at their company represented stability.
"The fact that they're hiring is only a positive thing," said Allen Porter, a machinist. "Bringing in more people is job security. With everything that's going on in the country you know you're safe."