Detroit hopeful for jobs action from Obama

President Barack Obama delivers a speech during a Labor Day event sponsored by the Metro Detroit Central Labor Council on Sept. 5, 2011 in Detroit, Mich.

Jeremy Hobson: President Obama will unveil his jobs plan tomorrow.

And as Quinn Klinefelter reports from WDET, many residents of Detroit can't wait to hear what he has to say.


Quinn Klinefelter: In the parking lot of General Motors headquarters, Detroit resident Sheila Jackson is excited. She just saw President Obama address a crowd of thousands of union workers. But Jackson was let go from a car plant two years before Obama bailed out the auto industry.

Sheila Jackson: There has been jobs but if you're the lowest person on the seniority list, then if they lay off again, you're the first person that leaves. So you just have to keep trying to find something to do.

Jackson says she lost her home because she could not afford the mortgage and is trying to live with a diabetic condition without having any medical insurance.

Jackson: Basically doing things that's better for my health, so I won't have to go to the doctor as much. But there's also a free clinic; you can pay $20 and see a doctor.

Detroit's struggling economy hit public employees as well. Teacher Robert Brown likes President Obama's call to extend unemployment benefits and create new jobs by rebuilding America's crumbling infrastructure. But what Brown really wants the president to push for in his speech tomorrow is another round of federal stimulus funding.

Robert Brown: And I'm not afraid to use the word 'stimulate,' because that's exactly what we need. We've always needed it. The stimulus package just wasn't big enough, because they didn't realize just how tough the recession was or is. So we need a massive plan.

Brown and others in Detroit are waiting to hear specifics about what Mr. Obama only hinted at on Labor Day, and hope proposals like rebuilding bridges turn into concrete action.

In Detroit, I'm Quinn Klinefelter for Marketplace.

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