CLEVELAND - In July, NewsChannel5 crews visited the Lakefront Automotive Parts NAPA store on St Clair Avenue to catch the array of customers making ends meet on their own during the course of a home car repair. At the heart of a spiking unemployment number for the country, 9.2, they were keeping a used car on the road, or a wheel barrow rolling in the backyard with an over-the-counter auto part.
Today, with a new report from Washington regarding a spike in job hires for December to lower the unemployment rate to 8.5, we revisited Darrel Mettler's store to see if anyone felt a difference in attitude since July.
Retail auto parts businessman, Joe Mobily, who deals in heavy equipment, said his business is good and getting better. He's particularly happy that his son has just landed a job in Detroit. He said it's good for everyone, but it's better than last year.
"It's absolutely better now, because the mills are back."
Tom Sawyer, who owns the building that the NAPA store leases and is also president of Auto Diesel Piston Ring business that has been in his family for 90 years, said he sees it in the media, but is not sure the comeback is that good.
His business had to go to four days a week last year, but is now back to a five day week. He has been at the helm for 50 years and knows there have been a lot recessions, and this is just another. Sawyer doesn't like discussing politics or religion because "there's always an argument," said "I'm the president of my company, but while I didn't vote for Obama and I don't think he's doing the job, if you don't have the people behind you, like congress, your hands are pretty much tied.
At this family and friends-style parts store that caters to all levels of automotive needs, they are just happy that people are working and maintaining their cars. The characters in and out of the store are what makes it successful.
"I'd just like to see the jobs come back from overseas and the parts made here in the states instead of China. Those jobs need to come back to Cleveland," said owner Darrel Mettler.
The economy added 1.6 million jobs for 2011. Economists predict 2012 will see that number rise to 2.1 million.
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