The Firms

January 7, 2011 12:31 PM

December's Overall Job Gains Can't Help Legal Sector

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

The U.S. economy's employment picture brightened last month, but the legal industry suffered its third straight month of job losses.

The monthly jobs report released on Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the legal sector shed 1,000 positions in December. On a positive note, the report shows that the legal industry's job total is up by about 1,200 positions compared to December 2009.  (In another minor bit of good news, the report revises the original November job loss figures for the legal sector down from 1,100 to 900.  Click here and here, respectively, to see the November and October reports.)

Setting aside the bad news for the legal trade, the report contains more positive data for the overall U.S. economy. The nation's unemployment rate dropped from 9.8 percent to 9.4 percent in December. Overall, the economy added 103,000 new positions during the month, though the number of people considered long-term unemployed (those without a job for 27 weeks or more) held steady at 6.4 million, roughly 44.3 percent of the overall jobless figure.

The leisure/hospitality and health care Industries showed the greatest gains in December, with the former adding 47,000 new hires and the latter adding 36,000.



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