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December 2, 2011 1:24 PM

Legal Sector Added 100 Jobs in November

Posted by Claire Zillman

The legal sector continued to make modest gains on the employment front in November by adding 100 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics's preliminary employment report released Friday. The sector also added 400 jobs in October, according to the seasonally adjusted figures included in the BLS report.

While encouraging, the uptick in legal hiring over the past two months doesn't offset the 1,200 jobs the industry lost in September (the legal sector also shed 300 positions in August). July, during which the industry added 4,100 employees, remains the year's bright spot. The legal sector has suffered a net loss of 1,000 jobs in 2011 and is down 3,100 jobs since November 2010, according to BLS statistics. 

The nation's overall unemployment rate, meanwhile, dropped to 8.6 percent last month, its lowest level in two-and-a-half years. The New York Times cited two factors as driving the decline: employers hiring 120,000 people in November and 315,000 abandoning their active job searches. 

The dip in unemployment comes four weeks before the scheduled expiration of extended jobless insurance benefits, which allow some unemployed workers actively seeking a job to receive government payments for up to 99 weeks. The Times reports that millions of people have already exhausted their benefits, and Congress's failure to renew the extended benefits program will affect as many as 1.2 million in January alone. 

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