Toledo auto workers hope for recovery

During the recession the auto industry lost 311,000 jobs and regained only 76,000.
CBS News

TOLEDO - President Obama didn't mention the jobs report today when he visited a Chrysler plant in Ohio. CBS News national correspondent Dean Reynolds reports Mr. Obama did say the economy faces "bumps on the road to recovery." And he said his administration's auto industry bailout saved a lot of jobs.

Thirty-six-year-old James Fayson doesn't have to scan the classified ads anymore. Laid off in 2009 from the Jeep plant in Toledo, he was called back to work late last year.

Fayson says getting that call was "like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders."

He is certain Mr. Obama saved his job, and his industry. Without the controversial bailout - he says his future was bleak.

"I probably would have been losing my home and a lot of other things that I worked so hard for so many years to obtain, he says.

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Fayson said he "absolutely" probably would have had to leave town, and look for another job in another industry.

An example of the reborn Chrysler, Fayson stood along the receiving line today. Both he and the president were basking in optimism.

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"This industry is back on its feet, repaying its debts and gaining ground," Mr. Obama said today.

And yet the car industry's recovery is tenuous. The government jobs report said the auto sector actually lost 3,400 jobs last month. Production is down due to a shortage of parts from earthquake-ravaged Japan.

During the recession the auto industry lost 331,000 jobs, and regained only 76,000.

Chuck Frankhauser is one of those still unemployed. He watched the president -- and his former colleagues -- on television today.

Frankhauser started at Jeep in 1994. But steady work stopped two years ago.

"I worked maybe two weeks and then off for six months," Frankhauser said. "Then two or three more weeks and then off for quite a bit more."

His savings are slowly running out. He learns to make ends meet by cutting back. "You learn to look at the end of the month and see what you need. See what you don't need and you trim back what you don't need."

Yet he remains hopeful.

"I'm just sitting by the phone waiting for the phone call - come back to work," Frankhauser says.

With an unemployment rate of 9.7 percent in Toledo - it's a call a lot of laid off workers here are hoping will come soon.

  • Dean Reynolds
    Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.