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Susan Tompor: Pockets of angst — and higher interest rates — cloud picture for car sales

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Home and Consumer News

The big economic headlines scream about a better jobs picture, one-time bonuses and a ginormous rally on Wall Street. All good things that could keep driving car sales.

But untold stories of economic anxiety cloud the picture, too.

Jacob Zolynsky, 29, received a $1,000 one-time bonus from AT&T in late December. A little more than a week later, he was laid off. AT&T put out a press release about the bonuses but isn't disclosing how many workers lost jobs.

Zolynsky, who lives in Royal Oak, Mich., worked as an installer for U-Verse for about two years. He graduated in 2012 from Central Michigan University with a bachelor of applied arts degree, said he has had a few leads relating to customer service.

And he remains optimistic enough to do a little dreaming about cars and trucks. Zolynsky was eager to see the new 2019 Chevy Silverado when visiting the Detroit auto show this month with his wife, Marina, who works as a nurse practitioner, and their 14-month-old daughter Montana.

His lease on a 2016 Silverado and her lease on a 2017 Dodge Journey end next year. They'll just have to see what happens between now and then, they say.

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"I'm being patient," he said. "It's not freak-out time yet."

Deciding to buy a car often boils down to having the extra cash, the credit and the job security to feel comfortable enough to make a deal.

But it's a mixed economic bag, where some consumers are doing very, very well and others remain hopeful that the economic recovery hangs on long enough to grab them on board.

While much news is good, businesses, including major retailers, continue to restructure and let go of some employees, all of which could influence car sales going forward.

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