As national unemployment rates break records, the future of small businesses in CT are uncertain amid coronavirus crisis


Conn. (WTNH) — New unemployment numbers show that 3.3 million Americans are out of work as of Thursday due to the coronavirus crisis. That’s the highest they have ever been on record. Thousands of them are in Connecticut.

RELATED: US jobless claims hit 3.3 million, quadruple previous record amid coronavirus crisis

An ABC News poll showing one in three Americans say they or family member have lost their jobs since the crisis began.

“We could see an unemployment number in the double digits in the not-too-distant future,” explained Fairfield University economist Dr. Phil Lane. He says the double trillion dollar stimulus package will help as soon as it hits.

This will help the majority of people who are hourly workers to at least between their unemployment compensation and depending how fast the treasury can cut those checks should be able to provide them with some cushion going forward.

– Fairfield University economist Dr. Phil Lane

RELATED: LIST: Companies hiring during coronavirus outbreak

Businesses across the state are coming up with creative solutions to stay in business and keep their staff on payroll as the national unemployment numbers break records.

Mike Kloss, the General Manager at the Milford location of DiBella’s Subs told News 8 he’s keeping his shop open, but “the idea is not really to make money through this, but to take care of the community and our employees.”

Curbside takeout for DiBella’s is what’s on the menu after Governor Ned Lamont’s call for businesses to practice social-distancing and close down dine-in services.

The coronavirus-driven economic crisis has forced the sub shop to cut back on some worker hours, but they’re pushing through and giving back.

Danielle Cadden, DiBella’s Subs Regional Sales Manager says, “we’ve been able to deliver to a lot of the hospitals…and we’re also taking a large part of it and donating it to food banks.”

Tucked away in a manufacturing warehouse DePuma’s has had their fortunes ride a roller coaster due to the coronavirus crisis.

John DePuma says when the crisis first hit and restaurants shut down, demands for his gluten-free pasta stopped. But then grocery stores came calling, doubling up their orders.

“I was able to maintain my staff and keep them on duty as many hours I can,” DePuma explained.

He was able to hire full time his employees who lost side gigs as wait staff.

In the meantime some businesses are actually seeing a boon, like Colony Paint and Wallpaper in Milford.

Sean Bogert of CPW says people are still coming in every day and the phone is ringing off the hook.

Customers tell News 8 now is the perfect time to paint since they are out of work and mostly stuck and home.

And those who are hiring are finding a skilled applicant pool ready and waiting.

Jamie Distefano, Vice President of Stew Leonard’s Newington explained, “Restaurants are closed down other than takeout or delivery, so we’re able to grab some great people from that industry and implement them into our kitchen area, our buffet area.”

Along with Stew Leonards’, Stop & Shop is hiring 5,000 workers in the region. Acme is also hiring.

Dr. Lane says, if flattening the curve of infection works, some predict we could be on the other side by the holidays. All waits to be seen

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