The latest overall job loss numbers showed a loss of 263,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate rose to 9.8%, the fewest losses since August last year but highest unemployment rate since mid-1983. The losses were worse than analysts had expected.
The August and July numbers were revised to losses of 201,000 and 304,000, respectively. 7.2 million jobs have now been lost since this recession began. In the 2001 recession, monthly losses hit a high of 325,000.
The 1990-91 recession peaked at 306,000 losses. As you can see from the chart below, numbers peak toward the end of a recession (past recessions are marked by grey bands), making employment a lagging indicator. The unemployment rate peaked at 10.8% at the end of the 1981-82 recession.