The news from the August BLS report was not good (but less bad than earlier this year). According to the household survey, the unemployment rate increased from 9.4% to 9.7%. When I saw the headline, I was hoping the rise might be the artifact of increased labor force participation (recall the unemployment rate is measured as a percentage of those working or looking for work, so if improved prospects motivate people to re-enter the labor force, the unempolyment rate can rise), but it was steady at 65.5%. The establishment survey found a decrease in payrolls of 217,000. While rapidly rising productivity is good news in the long run, it implies a larger increase in output would be necessary to generate an increase in employment.
Overall, the picture is consistent with an agonizingly slow turn in the business cycle; if this economy was a car, one would say that it has poor cornering and sluggish acceleration (but good brakes).
For more, see the Times story, and roundups of reactions at Economix and Real Time Economics.