President Barack Obama is celebrating Labor Day in Detroit, previewing his ideas for job creation and economic growth at a rally with thousands of supportive labor union members.

Obama’s speech at an annual event sponsored by the Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO was serving as a dress rehearsal for the jobs address he’ll deliver to a joint session of Congress on Thursday night.

The president’s appearance follows last Friday’s dismal jobs report, which showed that employers added no jobs in August. It was the first time since 1945 that the government reported a net job change of zero. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, held steady at 9.1 percent.

The disappointing report sparked new fears of a second recession and injected fresh urgency into efforts by Obama to help get millions of unemployed people back into the labor market — and help improve his chances of getting re-elected.

In Detroit on Monday, Obama is also expected to tout his efforts to save the auto industry and millions of jobs by providing federal bailouts in 2009 for General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Group LLC. The AFL-CIO rally was being held in a GM parking lot.

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