For comparison, the unemployment rate was 5 percent in December of 2007, and 7.5 percent in December of 2009.
Via The Atlantic, the Bureau of Labor Statistics gives us this chart of "actual jobs lost" -- that's the total number of jobs that evaporated in December, as opposed to the percent that was lost. The number of "actual jobs lost" is actually decreasing, which looks like an encouraging trend.
Then again, when the number of "actual jobs lost" totals 85,000, it's a little hard to see the silver lining.
That December 2009 layoffs held steady is somewhat surprising given the holidays and resulting retail rush. "Discouraged" workers -- workers who are bummed out and not even trying to look for a job, increased, while temp jobs also increased.