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Economy Top Concern in St. Louis as Obama Hits 100 Days

As part of this week's series of reports from St. Louis, Gwen Ifill speaks with city residents about the shape of the economy and how President Barack Obama has fared during his first 100 days in office.

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    Now we continue our spotlight city series on the eve of President Obama's 100 days in office. Tonight we take the pulse of how people feel about the direction of the country.

    Gwen Ifill has that from St. Louis.


    National polls show that, even in the midst of rising unemployment, frozen wages, and a continuing credit crunch, many Americans remain optimistic about where the economy is headed in these first 100 days.

    It's no different here in St. Louis, where we've been talking to people from all walks of life this week.

    Mark Esters worked for Chrysler, assembling Dodge Ram pickups, but seven months ago, he lost his job and he's still looking for work.

    MARK ESTERS, unemployed autoworker: You have to keep looking. You have to look for something in your field or you have to consider, you know, getting a retraining or re-educated to go into another job.


    The plant where he worked just south of the city has laid off enough workers that it's gone down to one shift. Next door, another Chrysler minivan plant is completely dark.

    Still, Esters is optimistic about an Obama administration plan to create more green jobs.


    There are opportunities out there for us to be able to try to learn these new jobs. And I think the administration is trying to put — I wouldn't say a spin, but put a positive outlook onto that, we're going to be able to have some good jobs sometime in the future, you know, in the early future, hopefully.