Business, Finance & Economics

Obama jobs speech: Imported from Detroit


President Barack Obama speaks during Labor Day celebrations on September 5, 2011 outside GM's world headquarters in Detroit.


Mandel Ngan

First, some full disclosure: I grew up in Detroit and experienced first-hand the long, slow decline of a great city. 

So it was with particular interest that I read the following passage from President Barack Obama's speech Monday at a union rally in Motown:

"That’s why we chose Detroit as one of the cities that we’re helping revitalize in our “Strong Cities, Strong Communities” initiative. We’re teaming up with everybody -- mayors, local officials, you name it -- boosting economic development, rebuilding your communities the best way, which is a way that involves you. Because despite all that’s changed here, and all the work that lies ahead, this is still a city where men clocked into factories. This is the city that built the greatest middle class the world has ever known. This is the city where women rolled up their sleeves and helped build an arsenal for democracy to free the world. This is a city where the great American industry has come back to life and the industries of tomorrow are taking root. This is a city where people, brave and bold, courageous and clever, are dreaming up ways to prove the skeptics wrong and write the next proud chapter in our history."

That's some pretty stirring stuff for a Detroit native, and it's certainly a return to the oratorical magic that helped propel Obama to the White House in 2008.

But President Obama will need a lot more of it if he hopes to keep his own job next year.

Obama got some more bad news today on that front: 77 percent of Americans say he's got the country on the wrong track, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Here are some additional details of that latest read, which comes 427 days before next year's presidential election:

Nearly half, 47 percent, “strongly” disapprove of Obama’s performance on the economy; just 15 percent strongly approve, a record low. It’s about the same on his handling of job creation and the federal budget deficit. Overall, 38 percent strongly disapprove of his job performance, matching the record. Twenty-one percent strongly approve.

Details of Obama's latest jobs plan will be laid out Thursday night before a joint session of Congress. 

But many economists remain wary about whether Obama has any cards left to play:

"You can't manufacture demand if you're going to look at demand from the same place as we always have gained demand, which is through the consumer sector," said Steven Blitz, senior economist at ITG Investment Research told MSBC. "That's because the consumer is tapped out."

The U.S. unemployment rate stands at 9.1 percent, a disturbingly high number that threatens to send the U.S. economy, the world's largest, back into recession. 

And what's the jobless rate in the Detroit metropolitan area? 

It's 15.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.