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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Connecticut Mill Towns Continue Their Decline

The New York Times chronicles the loss of Connecticut's manufacturing:

Victor Silva, 50, has lived in Ansonia, a town just south of here, all his life. He knew he would work in a factory, smoothing out metal or loading trucks. He never expected getting laid off three times as one struggling factory after another scaled back or shut down entirely.

Now, he can recite the trajectory as if it were gospel....

Mr. Silva’s story is a familiar one in towns across the central valley of Connecticut as one locally owned manufacturing plant after another closes, taking jobs that in many cases have been in the same family for generations.

The state estimates that in the last decade alone, the manufacturing economy has shrunk by nearly a fourth, to 193,900 people with manufacturing jobs from 248,500. The ripples can be felt throughout the region where shells of former factories dot the banks of the Naugatuck River.

The local steel workers union has seen its membership shrink to nearly half its size in the last decade, to 1,400 from 2,600.

Trade schools, where hard-working fathers sent their sons to learn the family business, have been replaced by centers for the elderly and office buildings.

Read it all.

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