Utahns hoping Obama plan helps local economy

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Some say President-elect Barack Obama's economic plan cannot come soon enough. Unemployment is at a 26-year high, and Utah isn't isolated from the problem. Today we talked to some people here who are hoping it will: those without jobs.

Claims for unemployment benefits in Utah this past quarter are up 150 percent compared to the same time last year. At Workforce Services today, there was no shortage of folks coming in to file for unemployment benefits or for extensions.

Utah's unemployment rate is 3.7 percent, which is about half of the national number, but many worry things are getting worse.

"Actually, Utah is doing pretty well; a lot better than the rest of the united states right now. So, it's just a lot of hustling. You've got to get out there and try if you want to work," job seeker Kim Adams said.

Job seeker Michael Dupreuy told us, "The last three weeks, I've probably been on 30 different interviews. But right now, people they're just not hardly hiring any place."

Dupreuy says he recently arrived in Utah from Bellingham, Wash. He was working on a crab boat; a well-paying, but seasonal job. When that ended, there were no jobs there, so he came back here where he'd worked a few years ago.

"I really hope Obama helps this economy, because we're really in desperate need right now. We have people who are homeless on the streets, and these people are not homeless by choice. They want work, they just can't find it. People are losing their houses every single day. The economy is just so terrible. Something drastic is going to have to happen real quick to change this economy," Dupreuy said.

Gov. Jon Huntsman has submitted a $14 billion wish list of transportation projects and other items the state would like to see funded. If that happens, there will be spending for those things and new jobs will be created.

One gentlemen we spoke with today said the Obama plan is "a fairy tale, but we'll see what happens."

E-mail: jdaley@ksl.com

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