it's just an indication of how busy your system has been
those aren't absolute though... some systems under high load have a load average of approximately 2, but i've heard of systems under high load having a load average of 20 and more. so it's not at all uncommon that if u let 2 systems do the exact same cpu intensive task for a while, they may have very different load averages.
so just think of it as an indication, but nothing more.
if u wanna know how high it goes for your system, let it compile something for about an hour and then check those load averages.