Unemployment benefits running out for North Carolina residents - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Unemployment benefits running out for North Carolina residents

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MURPHY, CHEROKEE COUNTY -

Unemployment benefits are running out for thousands of people in North Carolina.

The state is the first in the nation to become ineligible for federal help.

It means people collecting unemployment will receive less money, but a new casino is opening up in Murphy, North Carolina and will provide work for hundreds of people.

Channel 3 Eyewitness News Reporter Antwan Harris has more what this means for the community. 

The city of Murphy has dealt with high unemployment numbers for years but the mayor says the addition of this new casino should be the kick start this local economy needs.

 "Unfortunately small towns are the first to feel hard times when they arrive and the first last to recognize them when they leave," says Mayor Bill Hughes, Murphy, NC.

Mayor Bill Hughes has seen the workforce in Murphy get smaller every year.

Right now the city has nearly 13 percent unemployment and joins the more than 70,000 people in the state of North Carolina looking for work.

He says everything took a turn for the worst when tourism dried up.

"Five years ago that took a plunge and that has been a financial disaster for the western counties of North Carolina," says Hughes.

Just recently the unemployed to another blow.

A new law will cut federal funding to unemployment and the number of weeks to claim has been reduced.

The good news is help is on the way.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians voted to build a $100,000,000 casino just a mile outside of the city.

 "My main concern is jobs. within the economy the way it is, we are giving away 600 to 800 jobs," says Diamond Brown, Cherokee Tribe.

Brown says it took years of planning and voting but this was the only place he felt comfortable building. 

"This one here, my heart told me this is the right thing to do. I listen to my heart. I don't listen to my brain," says Brown.

"It is a very, very big development for this area and for the local economy, it will be a shot in the arm," says Hughes.

Construction will start in the fall and the casino should be completed by the end of next year.

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