Jobs in Waterbury, Connecticut, United States
Congregationalists founded the first English colony in central Connecticut in 1636 and soon settled throughout the state. They obtained a royal charter in 1662 and governed until 1818. The state has a strong maritime tradition. During the 19th century it also became a major center for financial services and manufacturing.
Irish and southeastern European immigrants came to work in the factories and introduced Catholicism. In the 1950s and 60s, economic expansion led to an influx of Puerto Rican and African-American workers, but 71 percent of the state’s population of 3.5 million is still non-Hispanic and white, and their religious traditions remain influential.
Ending of the Cold War and endemic corruption led to a period of late-20th century decline, but since 2008 the economy has begun to rebound. Finance, insurance and real estate now account for a third of the state’s GDP. manufacturing, the arts and tourism are also important. Affluent communities within commuting distance from New York make Connecticut a high-income state, but wealth is unevenly distributed and many older industrial cities are now impoverished.
WATERBURY – Brass City
Portrait of Contemporary Waterbury
With a population of 108,000, Waterbury is the fifth largest city in the state of Connecticut. It is located in the northern part of New Haven County in the Naugatuck River Valley. New Haven is an affluent county, but Waterbury is one of Connecticut’s impoverished post-industrial cities.
Most factories did not survive the nationwide decline in manufacturing in the 1970s and 80s.Today the city is primarily a residential suburb of New Haven and belongs to the Greater New Haven metropolitan area. The population is comprised mainly of Non-Hispanic Whites (45%), Hispanics (all races, 31%) and Black African-Americans (18%).
Most residents work either at Yale University or in low-paying service and retail jobs in New Haven and other nearby coastal cities. Median household income is well below both US and state averages. Unemployment is quite high and a quarter of the population lives in poverty. Taxes are high, the government is corrupt, city services are poor and crime is rampant.
However, housing is cheap, there are some good schools and various amenities appeal to commuters.
Waterbury sits in a scenic location at the confluence of a number of streams that feed into the Naugatuck River. The climate is continental, with cold, snowy winters and warm, humid summers.
Early History and Industrial Revolution
The settlement of Waterbury was recognized as a town in 1686. Frequent flooding limited the town’s growth in the 18th century, but early in the 19th century, industrialists harnessed the town’s waters to provide power for their factories. Waterbury soon became known for production of brass, copper, brass products, watches and clocks.
The city’s manufacturing base experienced losses during the Great Depression of the 1930s, but recovered when its factories were converted to wartime production during WWII. In 1880 the Waterbury Watch Company began mass producing cheap pocket watches. Ingersoll & Bro. bought the company in 1912 and sold it in 1922 to the Waterbury Clock Company. In the 1930s, the company gained fame with the ‘Mickey Mouse’ watch. During and just after WWII it produced military wristwatches and precision fuse timers. The company became the United States Time Corporation in 1944 and introduced the Timex watch in 1950. It was rebranded again in 1969 as Timex and is still a dominant international player, with US headquarters in Waterbury. The 19th century workforce was comprised mainly of European immigrants, many of them Irish Roman Catholic, and the young priest who founded the Knights of Columbus in New Haven was a beloved native of Waterbury.
Amenities and Cultural Attractions
Ethnic communities distinguish the city’s 25 neighborhoods. In the 19th century, clusters of shops at the street corners created villages within the city. For many people, home, work and community life was contained within their neighborhood. Downtown, a short walk away, was “the city”, offering live theater, fancy stores, parades and spectacles.
Although many parts of the old downtown are now derelict, restoration has begun. Brass Mill Center &Commons is a popular shopping venue, built on the site of the old Scovill Manufacturing Co. buildings near the center of town, where the Timexpo Museum is also located. The Palace Theater, a movie/vaudeville house from 1922 to 1987, reopened in 2004 as a multi-purpose Center for the Performing Arts.
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