The latest overall job loss numbers showed a loss of 216,000 jobs in August and the unemployment rate rose to 9.7%, the fewest losses since August last year but highest unemployment rate since mid-1983.
The June and July numbers were revised upward to losses of 463,000 and 276,000, respectively. 6.9 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.