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Above, Steve Benen's monthly chart of private-sector job gains and losses.
Update 1 - w00t! An incoming link from The Maddow Blog!
Update 2 - This chart from CalculatedRISK, showing job losses from the start of the recession, in percentage terms, aligned at maximum job losses. The CR graph shows just how deep a hole we dug in this "Great Recession," and how much we'll need to do to climb back out of it. This chart, more than anything else, should be required reading for everyone who thinks that the national debt is the most serious problem we face. It's not. Unemployment is.
Update 3 - The "unemployment rate" is one number that the press reports on, but a fuller picture needs a more in-depth discussion. This post from Dirk van Dijk at DailyMarkets.com is an excellent guide to all the numbers used to discuss the employment situation. Highly recommended.