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March 9, 2012 1:45 PM

Legal Sector Added 800 Jobs in February

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

After ending 2011 on a down note, the legal sector is off to a strong start on the employment front this year. Hiring in the industry rose for the second straight month in February, with 800 new jobs added, according to the preliminary employment report released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The BLS report contains another piece of good news for the legal trade: adjusted figures show legal employers added 3,200 positions in January as opposed to the agency's original estimate of 1,000. The sector's gains through the first two months of 2012 more than offset the 1,100 jobs it lost in December.

As The Am Law Daily reported last month, the legal industry struggled through 2011's fourth quarter, suffering a net loss of 300 jobs in the year's last three months. Overall, though, 4,900 legal jobs have been added since February of last year.

The legal sector's upward trend is starting to mirror that of the overall U.S. economy, which gained  227,000 jobs last month—the third straight month it has added more than 200,000, according to Friday's report from the BLS. The agency's adjusted figures show that, as with the legal industry, the broader economy saw more hiring in January than first reported. While the BLS initially estimated an uptick of 223,000 jobs that month, the economy actually added 284,000.

The national unemployment rate, meanwhile, held steady at 8.3 percent last month.

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