HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- With much of the economy shut down in response to the coronavirus, jobless numbers continue to soar.

There have been 6.6 million people who filed for unemployment last week in the United States, exceeding a record high that was set the week prior, at 3.3 million.

In Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont said unemployment numbers have reached 220,000 in the past 18 days. The total in all of 2019 was 180,000. 

RELATED: A 3,000% jump in jobless claims has devastated the US job market

Of course, economists fear things won't get any better anytime soon.

In fact, many are worried the U.S. economy could lose as many as 20 million jobs before the end of the month.

The unemployment numbers are skyrocketing as states across the country have imposed stay-at-home orders for many workers.

That has been the case in Connecticut, since Gov. Ned Lamont’s Stay Safe, Stay Home order took effect March 23, requiring all nonessential employees to stay home.

Companies in many industries have slashed their payrolls as a way of keeping down costs.

The Department of Labor said it has been able to reduce a three-week backlog.

The Department released a statement on Thursday saying, "In comparison, when we aren't faced with huge claim numbers, it typically takes less than a week to process a claim. We expect that backlog will continue." 

Still, some companies are hiring, especially grocery stores and shipping and delivery companies. 

Stop & Shop, CVS, and Amazon are among those looking to hire hundreds, if not thousands of workers in Connecticut. 

Cheshire-based Bozzuto's ships goods to grocery stores, but also runs some of its own. 

Vice President Scott Grove says he's looking for drivers, but also people for making and cooking prepared meals. 

"We're booming right now," Grove said. 

But most of the jobs are likely to be ones that pay less than $50,000 per year. 

"When you move north of that salary level, it's going to become much, much more difficult to find that," said David Lewis, CEO of Operations Inc. 

David Lewis runs Norwalk-based HR-consultant Operations Inc. For those who made more than $50,000, he suggests using this time to prepare for the upcoming job market. 

"Sit back, collect now an enhanced level of unemployment as part of the CARES package, and focus your attention 24-7 gearing up for when hopefully the flood gates open on the job market," Lewis said. 

Many worry that the job market could get worse if the federal stimulus package isn't enough to keep companies afloat through the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Also, if companies view the requirements for aid to be too much, there could be another wave of layoffs. 

Another questions about the stimulus package is how can the self-employed and gig-workers apply for help. 

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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