Most pictures are worth a thousand words. This one’s worth several thousand. Click it to see it at full size.
The second graph shows the job losses from the start of the employment recession, in percentage terms (as opposed to the number of jobs lost).
For the current recession, employment peaked in December 2007, and this recession was a slow starter (in terms of job losses and declines in GDP).
However job losses have really picked up over the last 9 months (4.4 million jobs lost, red line cliff diving on the graph), and the current recession is now the 2nd worst recession since WWII in percentage terms – and also in terms of the unemployment rate (only early ’80s recession was worse).