RALEIGH—A boost in the economy might not be good news for some people who have been out a work.
The Division of Employment Security said about 17,000 jobless North Carolinians will lose their long-term benefits as soon as May. According to the DES, the federal benefits are paid based on a formula that accounts for a high unemployment rate.
"I put out two or three [applications], but I'm running out of places to apply," said Wake Forest resident Daniel Phelps.
Phelps is one of the unemployed North Carolinians who currently receive long-term benefits.
"[It] keeps me off the street, and keeps me in the house," said Phelps.
The DES said people in the long-term program have exhausted initial state benefits and the federal extension. North Carolina is currently at its lowest unemployment rate in three years. In February and March, the state's unemployment rate dropped below 10 percent.
However, many job hunters believe it is a tough job market and landing work takes persistence.
"The opportunities are there. They're not going to come knocking at your door and say, 'Do you want to work?' But you have to go to them, regardless of you know if you're looking online. Sometimes you have to go to companies in person," said job applicant Alecia Williams.
After more than a year of searching, Phelps still remains hopeful the improving economy will land him work instead of relying on a government check.
"I've been looking but it hasn't been happening. I just continue my search, that's all I can do," said Phelps.
The DES said people receiving long-term benefits will receive letters in the mail before their benefits end.