President Obama urged Congress on Wednesday to "do the right thing and extend a vital lifeline" for those on unemployment. 

During a speech in North Carolina, a state that has seen larger than average unemployment, Obama emphasized that those out of work "aren't looking for a handout" or "special treatment."

"There are a lot of people sending out resumes every single day but the job market is still tough in pockets around the country and people need support, a little help so they can look after their families while they're looking for a new job," Obama said during the speech at North Carolina State University. 

Obama's remarks come as the Senate failed to extend unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed. 

The president traveled to North Carolina to announce the formation of a new public-privare manufacturing institute. White House aides have acknowledged that Obama plans to increase the number of private-public partnerships in the coming months, as part of an effort to use all the levers of the executive branch. 

"Where I can act without Congress, I'm going to do so," Obama said in the speech on Wednesday. 

Two weeks before Obama delivers his State of the Union address, he touted a list of accomplishments, including the growing economy, where businesses have created more than 8 million jobs. He also trumpeted a growing energy sector that has produced more oil domestically than abroad.