It’s common for casual conversation to turn to the economy, and it’s even more common for talk of who got laid off and how long ago. It’s a tiresome conversation reflecting a stressful economic environment that has spurred a wealth of “How NOT to get Laid Off,” articles and networking groups. And even though jobless claims fell more than was expected last week, there are economists that warn it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

According to the Labor Department, continuing jobless claims hit a new high for the eighth consecutive week. While first-time requests for unemployment benefits was better than expected (about 12,000 less than previously forecasted), continuing claims increased 185,000 to 5.47 million, surpassing analysts’ expectations of 5.33 million.

But the good news is buoyed with the bad, something we’ve nearly grown accustomed to in such a harsh economic environment. According to market experts, the labor market hasn’t yet felt the tremors of other areas in the economy that might send jobless claims even higher.

With no attempt at sugar coating the issue, in a note to clients, Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics stated, “There is no sign of even a temporary easing in the downward pressure on employment.” Shepherdson added that job losses could hit more than 700,000 in March.