Most common jobs 150 years ago in Connecticut

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August 5, 2022
Heritage Art/Heritage Images via Getty Images

Most common jobs 150 years ago in Connecticut

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to impact the global economy, the current job market is a hot topic in the news cycle. But while the pandemic itself is, historically, something of an economic aberration, the U.S. economy that we know today has a long and storied history of expansions, recessions, and evolution.

At the time of the American Revolution, most of the job market in the U.S. revolved around agriculture or food acquisition in some way. Many individuals and communities farmed for subsistence, not even growing enough to have an excess to sell for profits. As the fledgling country grew, so did its economy, springing forth during the Industrial Revolution of the late 1700s and early 1800s, and inexorably shifting the nation’s economic focus from agrarian efforts to those of manufacturing, trade, and other forms of business. Inventions like the steam engine and cotton gin accelerated production, feeding a booming job market that was met with immigrants eager to find work.

By the mid- to late-1800s, the U.S. economy and job market was characterized by successive periods of rapid growth followed by panics or depressions. This economic disquiet was caused by stock speculation and oscillating levels of trust in the federal government’s ability to regulate cash flow and support banks. In turn, the uncertain economy produced a volatile job market.

In an effort to capture a snapshot of the U.S. job market’s history, Stacker compiled a list of the most common jobs in Connecticut from 150 years ago using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. By transcribing the previously untranscribed Table XXVII from the 1870 decennial census, a state-level glimpse into the historic job market can be seen. Nationally, farmers and planters were the most common occupation 150 years ago, just one of the many agricultural jobs that made up more than 47% of all employed persons over ten years old.

Continue reading to find out more about the historical job market in your home state or explore the data on your own on our site, GitHub, or data.world.

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Underwood Archives // Getty Images

#1. Farmers and planters

- Connecticut employment: 23,704
- National employment: 2,977,711
--- #1 most common job in the U.S.
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Bettmann // Getty Images

#2. Agricultural laborers

- Connecticut employment: 18,934
- National employment: 2,885,996
--- #2 most common job in the U.S.
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English Heritage/Heritage Images // Getty Images

#3. Domestic servants

- Connecticut employment: 15,104
- National employment: 975,734
--- #4 most common job in the U.S.
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Alexander Alland, Sr./CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

#4. Laborers (not specified)

- Connecticut employment: 13,017
- National employment: 1,031,666
--- #3 most common job in the U.S.
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Lewis W. Hine // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Cotton-mill operatives

- Connecticut employment: 9,057
- National employment: 111,606
--- #14 most common job in the U.S.
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Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

#6. Carpenters and joiners

- Connecticut employment: 7,130
- National employment: 344,596
--- #5 most common job in the U.S.
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SSPL // Getty Images

#7. Employees of railroad companies (not clerks)

- Connecticut employment: 5,020
- National employment: 154,027
--- #9 most common job in the U.S.
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Everett Collection // Shutterstock

#8. Mill and factory operatives (not specified)

- Connecticut employment: 4,515
- National employment: 41,619
--- #33 most common job in the U.S.
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Lewis W. Hine // Library of Congress

#9. Woolen-mill operatives

- Connecticut employment: 4,499
- National employment: 58,836
--- #22 most common job in the U.S.
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Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

#10. Clerks in stores

- Connecticut employment: 3,641
- National employment: 222,504
--- #6 most common job in the U.S.
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London Metropolitan Archives/Heritage Images // Getty Images

#11. Machinists

- Connecticut employment: 3,148
- National employment: 54,755
--- #24 most common job in the U.S.
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Everett Collection // Shutterstock

#12. Teachers (not specified)

- Connecticut employment: 2,711
- National employment: 126,822
--- #12 most common job in the U.S.
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Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

#13. Blacksmiths

- Connecticut employment: 2,698
- National employment: 141,774
--- #11 most common job in the U.S.
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Carl Mydans // Library of Congress

#14. Masons, brick and stone

- Connecticut employment: 2,603
- National employment: 89,710
--- #17 most common job in the U.S.
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Frances Benjamin Johnston // Library of Congress

#15. Boot and shoe makers

- Connecticut employment: 2,540
- National employment: 171,127
--- #7 most common job in the U.S.
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Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

#16. Hat and cap makers

- Connecticut employment: 2,481
- National employment: 12,625
--- #78 most common job in the U.S.
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Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

#17. Iron & steel works & shops operatives (not specified)

- Connecticut employment: 2,478
- National employment: 22,141
--- #55 most common job in the U.S.
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Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

#18. Sailors

- Connecticut employment: 2,402
- National employment: 56,663
--- #23 most common job in the U.S.
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Lewis W. Hine // Library of Congress

#19. Tailors, tailoresses, and seamstresses

- Connecticut employment: 2,363
- National employment: 161,820
--- #8 most common job in the U.S.
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Library of Congress // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Painters and varnishers

- Connecticut employment: 2,317
- National employment: 85,123
--- #18 most common job in the U.S.
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Minnesota Historical Society/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

#21. Milliners, dress and mantua makers

- Connecticut employment: 2,270
- National employment: 92,084
--- #16 most common job in the U.S.
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Smith Collection/Gado // Getty Images

#22. Manufacturers

- Connecticut employment: 2,171
- National employment: 42,877
--- #29 most common job in the U.S.
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Bain News Service // Library of Congress

#23. Draymen, hackmen, teamsters, &c

- Connecticut employment: 2,003
- National employment: 120,756
--- #13 most common job in the U.S.
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GHI/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

#24. Iron-foundry operatives

- Connecticut employment: 1,928
- National employment: 34,245
--- #39 most common job in the U.S.
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Matthias Weaver // Library of Congress

#25. Carriage and wagon makers

- Connecticut employment: 1,640
- National employment: 42,464
--- #31 most common job in the U.S.
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Charles Phelps Cushing/ClassicStock // Getty Images

#26. Traders and dealers (not specified)

- Connecticut employment: 1,623
- National employment: 100,406
--- #15 most common job in the U.S.
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SSPL // Getty Images

#27. Carpet-makers

- Connecticut employment: 1,486
- National employment: 15,669
--- #70 most common job in the U.S.
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Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

#28. Mechanics (not specified)

- Connecticut employment: 1,482
- National employment: 16,514
--- #68 most common job in the U.S.
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Everett Collection // Shutterstock

#29. Quarrymen

- Connecticut employment: 1,438
- National employment: 13,580
--- #76 most common job in the U.S.
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Underwood Archives // Getty Images

#30. Traders and dealers in groceries

- Connecticut employment: 1,341
- National employment: 74,410
--- #19 most common job in the U.S.
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Schenectady Museum/Hall of Electrical History Foundation/Corbis via Getty Images

#31. Sewing-machine factory operatives

- Connecticut employment: 1,279
- National employment: 3,881
--- #146 most common job in the U.S.
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Museum of the City of New York/Byron Co. Collection // Getty Images

#32. Brass founders and workers

- Connecticut employment: 1,278
- National employment: 4,694
--- #137 most common job in the U.S.
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Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

#33. Book-keepers and accountants in stores

- Connecticut employment: 1,228
- National employment: 31,177
--- #43 most common job in the U.S.
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Library of Congress

#34. Clock-makers

- Connecticut employment: 1,153
- National employment: 1,779
--- #201 most common job in the U.S.
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Lewis W. Hine // Library of Congress

#35. Knitting and hosiery mill operatives

- Connecticut employment: 1,021
- National employment: 3,653
--- #153 most common job in the U.S.
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H.C. White Co. // Library of Congress

#36. Paper-mill operatives

- Connecticut employment: 984
- National employment: 12,469
--- #79 most common job in the U.S.
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Branger/Roger Viollet via Getty Images

#37. Rubber-factory operatives

- Connecticut employment: 981
- National employment: 3,886
--- #145 most common job in the U.S.
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Lewis W. Hine/Buyenlarge // Getty Images

#38. Fishermen and oystermen

- Connecticut employment: 920
- National employment: 27,106
--- #48 most common job in the U.S.
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Chris Ware/Keystone Features // Getty Images

#39. Tool and cutlery makers

- Connecticut employment: 910
- National employment: 5,351
--- #129 most common job in the U.S.
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Gari Melchers // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Clergymen

- Connecticut employment: 908
- National employment: 43,874
--- #28 most common job in the U.S.
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Minnesota Historical Society/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

#41. Butchers

- Connecticut employment: 820
- National employment: 44,354
--- #27 most common job in the U.S.
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Everett Collection // Shutterstock

#42. Gardeners and nurserymen

- Connecticut employment: 805
- National employment: 31,435
--- #42 most common job in the U.S.
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W.E.B. DuBois // Library of Congress

#43. Gun and lock smiths

- Connecticut employment: 791
- National employment: 8,184
--- #103 most common job in the U.S.
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Levin C. Handy // Library of Congerss

#44. Marble and stone cutters

- Connecticut employment: 788
- National employment: 25,831
--- #51 most common job in the U.S.
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Seneca Ray Stoddard/Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

#45. Restaurant-keepers

- Connecticut employment: 735
- National employment: 35,185
--- #38 most common job in the U.S.
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Schenectady Museum/Hall of Electrical History Foundation/Corbis via Getty Images

#46. Employees of manufacturing establishments

- Connecticut employment: 713
- National employment: 20,242
--- #59 most common job in the U.S.
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Detroit Publishing Company // Library of Congress

#47. Shirt, cuff, and collar makers

- Connecticut employment: 695
- National employment: 4,080
--- #143 most common job in the U.S.
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Bettmann // Getty Images

#48. Tinners

- Connecticut employment: 684
- National employment: 30,524
--- #44 most common job in the U.S.
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Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

#49. Physicians and surgeons

- Connecticut employment: 680
- National employment: 62,383
--- #20 most common job in the U.S.
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Heritage Art/Heritage Images via Getty Images

#50. Printers

- Connecticut employment: 631
- National employment: 39,860
--- #36 most common job in the U.S.

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