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Bill Radke: The number of new jobless claims rose more than expected last week to more than 640,000. Continuing claims hit yet another high.

Gary Chaison is a professor of labor relations at Clark University. Professor, what do these numbers tell you?

Gary Chaison: Well, the report is very discouraging. The figures indicate that the recession continues, that we have not reached the bottom of it. And I'm sure there'll be many people who'll try to find encouraging signs in the data -- maybe it hasn't gone up as much as they would expect it to, or maybe there's some leveling off. But I think if we're searching for a turnaround, we haven't found it.

Radke: The continuing jobless claims topping 6.1 million -- how significant is that?

Chaison: It's very significant, because I don't think it's ever been over 6 million before. So it's difficult to find any encouraging corner in these figures. Essentially, these are a continuing record-setting figures on the extent of unemployment. And if we look beyond the numbers themselves, we see individuals who have lost their jobs and we see communities that are on the decline because of this.

Radke: What do these numbers tell us about when a bottom might come?

Chaison: Well the bottom might come in a few months, or it might last . . . we might be having difficult times for a year or two more. It's very difficult to say, because we've never really had a recession of such scope and depth before.

Radke: Gary Chaison, professor of labor relations at Clark University. Thank you.

Chaison: Oh, you're welcome. Good to talk to you.