The latest overall job loss numbers showed a gain of 290,000 jobs in April and an unemployment rate rising to 9.9%. This was the fourth consecutive month of gains and 573,000 new jobs for the year.
So far for this recession, the peak of losses was 779,000 lost jobs in January 2009. 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, making employment a lagging indicator. The unemployment rate peaked at 10.8% at the end of the 1981-82 recession.