Nightly News   |  October 12, 2011

The faces of unemployment

The Senate failed to pass President Obama’s jobs bill, even as the unemployment rate remained steady at 9.1 percent in September. NBC’s Mark Potter looks at the faces of those hardest-hit by the lack of jobs nationwide.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Another big issue central to these protests, persistently high unemployment in this country and there are no shortage of reminders of that. Our report tonight from NBC 's Mark Potter .

MARK POTTER reporting: Eight hundred miles from Capitol Hill there were long lines this week at a jobs fair in South Haven , Mississippi , with more than 2500 people applying for work. Glenn Jenkins is among the faces of joblessness in America .

Ms. GLENN JENKINS: I just don't know how much longer I can maintain hope.

POTTER: Near Detroit , Michael McCowan is also worried. After teaching music for 17 years, he just learned by mail that he and other teachers are being laid off.

Mr. MICHAEL McCOWAN: It makes me wonder how I'm going to be able to, you know, to pay my bills and to be able to give my kids what they need.

POTTER: Near Miami , general contractor Juan Montes worked hard for 30 years to support his family, but now with the downturn in construction, can't find work anywhere.

Mr. JUAN MONTES: It makes you feel not much of a man, you know. Once when you've done everything for yourself all your life and you -- it's not there anymore, that security.

POTTER: Montes and his wife Gina have run out of money and struggle to pay thousands of dollars in medical bills with no insurance. This year he had to ask his son for help.

Mr. MONTES: I figure, hey, you know, maybe you help me out with one the utility bills, you know. And I 'm not supposed to be asking my son for help. I'm supposed to be helping him.

POTTER: Gina says members of Congress bickering over the jobs bill need to walk in her shoes for a while. And if they wore your shoes, how would they feel?

Ms. GINA MONTES: They wouldn't feel very good right now. They would not. They would feel like something has to be done.

POTTER: A sentiment reflected on millions of American faces now. Mark Potter NBC News, Miami.