"We've tightened up," Sinks said. "We're seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. People who are secure in their jobs are spending money. And that's something I'm seeing today that I haven't seen in years."
Cullen, the Democratic state senator, said the federal government can help only so much, no matter who wins the White House. Cities such as Janesville probably hold their economic fate in their own hands, he said.
"A lot of it is really, truly local economic development effort," he said. "You don't come back from (the plant closing) in three-and-a-half years. Short of a giant home run of a company coming here with 2,000 to 3,000 jobs, which is kind of a pipe dream these days, it's going to be a slow slog back."
___Associated Press Auto Writer Tom Krisher in Detroit and AP writer Kasie Hunt in Washington contributed to this report.