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February 4, 2011 1:31 PM

January Jobs Report: Marginal Growth in Legal Industry

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

The legal sector in January saw its first month of job growth since September 2010, according to monthly employment statistics released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the report, 400 legal jobs were created last month as the industry--consistent with national trends--saw only modest gains in employment levels. BLS's revised statistics from previous months show that, after a stagnant month in October, legal services jobs decreased in both November (-900) and December (-1,600).

The small boost last month should come as some consolation to the industry after an up-and-down year that saw big dips (3,200 jobs lost in June) as well as optimistic surges (2,100 jobs gained in September). (Click here for our December jobs report and here for such coverage in November.) Overall, 2010 reaped a net gain for the legal industry, with 1,200 more jobs on the books by the end of the year.

The U.S. economy on the whole experienced sluggish growth--but growth nonetheless--in January. There  were 36,000 new jobs, marking a fourth straight month of improvement. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell from 9.4 percent to an even 9 percent. As The New York Times reported, those totals fell below analysts' predictions, and, the paper notes, the dip in the unemployment rate was due, in part, to both readjusted population figures and to bad winter weather conditions which prevented people from seeking employment.

Some additional data from the latest BLS report: The private sector added 50,000 positions in January, while local government jobs dropped by 14,000.

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