SOMERSET, SOMERSET COUNTY - The Tracks Bar and Restaurant in Somerset isn't used to having an empty parking lot, but as manufacturing and energy jobs have continued to leave the area, business is down.
"People that used to come in here 6 or 7 days a week that would have lunch of lunch and a beer or two are now coming in 3 days a week or 4 days a week instead of 6 or 7," Manager Bill Santillo says.
Santillo knows that story all to well.
"My father worked for a company for 25 years and his job went over to china simply because of manufacturing costs," Santillo says.
Energy jobs, such as coal and wind have also seen cuts recently.
225 workers from PBS Coals Incorporated were let go back in July, and when you're dealing with a county of about 80,000 people, those jobs go a long way,
"The impact that had was pretty significant because they attributed 5 to 6 jobs for every coal job so when they lay off 200 people it affects 1,000 people," Somerset Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ron Aldom says.
Somerset County isn't losing hope though, pointing to a road construction project on Route 219 as reason for optimism.
"It's going to be one of the most significant road projects in the state this year. Actually its a 5 year project so there's a lot of optimism around that," Aldom says.
But Aldom and Santillo both say that promise won't go far unless leaders in Washington lend a hand, starting with avoiding the fiscal cliff.
"We need to get thru that first because we have companies ready to grow," Aldom says.
"At some point the federal government needs to step in and create some jobs in this area, but at this point they're just not," Santillo says.
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