David Altig at Atlanta Fed analyzes the current unemployment in historical comparative perspective. Also refer to my previous posts on this: here and here.
How bad is the employment picture, really?
We quite likely have not hit bottom in the labor market yet, and the percent loss in nonfarm payroll employment since the beginning of the current recession is already worse than all of the previous seven recessions save the 1981–82 contraction:
A cross-recession look at employment losses, but based on data from a survey of households (as opposed to payroll data collected from business establishments):