"You still hear in the news today, you know, little hopes and hints of the recovery. But, personally ... until we see people back to work, we just don't quite see a recovery," said Beetler, who is one of only two out of the original 70 still employed at the plant.
Ken Sauvey, who worked at the factory as a bulldozer operator for 34 years, has been looking for another job since it closed.
"There is none out there, for especially my age," said Sauvey, 55. "And that's why the younger generation will probably get the jobs before a man my age would be able to get a job."
Ted Fenik worked for National Gypsum for nine years before the plant went idle.
"I definitely don't blame Barack Obama for me losing my job," Fenik said. "When the housing industry took the slide down, you know, that's what killed us.
"We just need to bring more manufacturing jobs back to America," Fenik added. "You know, it just seems like they're all going overseas."
In an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos Wednesday, the president acknowledged he made a mistake in assuming that if he focused on policy decisions, the American people would understand the reasoning behind them.
"That, I do think, is a mistake of mine," Obama said. "I think the assumption was if I just focus on policy, if I just focus on this provision or that law, or if we're making a good rational decision here, then people will get it."
Today's town hall meeting seemed to be a part of the president's populist push to reconnect with Americans.
"There are some nice people in Washington -- but it can drive you crazy," Obama told the audience today as he kicked off his speech.
It may very well be one of the roughest weeks of the Obama presidency.
Amid disappointing jobs figures, speculation that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke may not be reconfirmed and Democrats' losing Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts to Republican Scott Brown, Obama has faced his share of bad news this week.
The president this week returned the focus to the economy with a push for new regulations to limit the risky behaviors taken by big banks insured by U.S. taxpayers. The announcement, said New York Times business reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin, took Wall Street by surprise.
"Most of the CEOs and executives I spoke to had no idea this was coming and were shell shocked," Sorkin said on "Good Morning America" today.
"It's a game changer," Sorkin added. "It's truly one step from removing the casinos on Wall Street."
By preventing commercial banks from running risky hedge funds and private equity firms, the president said he was protecting taxpayers.
"Never again will the American taxpayer be held hostage by a bank that is 'too big to fail,'" the president vowed, suggesting ways to limit the size and scope of financial institutions.
But Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner privately expressed concern that the proposal would hurt the ability of U.S. banks to compete globally, according to sources.
"It needs to be done right," a source close to Geithner said. "How it gets implemented and how it gets defined is absolutely critical. We don't want to disrupt the ability of banks to lend."
The Treasury boss worries that political fears may be overriding economic considerations, another industry source said.
He is not alone in his concern. The Dow plummeted and closed down 213 points after Obama's announcement Thursday.