AKRON (April 18)—Myers Industries Inc. had net earnings of about $8 million for the first quarter ended March 31, a slight drop from the $8.3 million earned in the 2000 period. Net sales increased to $165.2 million from $161.6 million last year. First-quarter earnings were negatively impacted by "weakened conditions in many sectors of the economy, including further decline in the automotive and truck markets," President and CEO Stephen E. Myers said. Sales in Meyers' manufacturing segment rose 5 percent over 2000's first period results but distribution segment revenues were down 7 percent. Softness in the automotive aftermarket carried over from the fourth quarter and played a role in the net income decline, the company said.