Auto workers’ tenuous return a ray of hope in jobs crisis

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. auto industry is defying a wave of layoffs that has sent the job market into its worst catastrophe ever. Automakers are restarting factories next week that were closed by the coronavirus and bringing back an estimated 133,000 workers. It’s not a full return to normal and it could be temporary if people don’t start buying vehicles again. But automakers say there’s enough pent-up demand, especially for pickup trucks, to get the factories humming again. Looming in the background is an economy decimated by the pandemic. Nearly 3 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, raising the total seeking aid to about 36 million.