The General Motors plant in Janesville has now been sitting idle for a year, but life hasn’t come to a screeching halt in the city. Janesville Gazette business editor Jim Leute says there were many predictions that the city would become a ghost town after the auto manufacturer left, but those have not come to pass yet. In fact, he says there are signs of a slow economic recovery.
Still, he says there are still people who are suffering and looking for work. Leute says the pain will also really hit home next year, when the benefits end for many former workers.
Meanwhile, some hold out hope that production will someday return to the plant. Leute says that’s a good thing and a bad thing, because it leaves the door open for GM’s return. However, it also prevents officials from looking for ways to redevelop the site.
Last December 23rd, around 1,200 workers were out of a job after the last SUV rolled off the line. Earlier in the year, 800 workers were let go. About 500 GM employees were able to take jobs at other plants. Many of them actually commute to places in Indiana and Kansas, while still living in Janesville.
AUDIO: Jim Leute (:20)