The Firms

August 6, 2010 1:38 PM

Legal Sector Lost 800 Jobs in July

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

Call it The Incredible Shinking Legal Services Field.

The U.S. economy as a whole lost 131,000 jobs in July, and 800 of them were in the legal trade, according to the latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Despite the losses, the industry actually fared better last month than it did in June, when it saw more than 3,000 positions evaporate. The BLS originally reported that the legal services field lost 3,900 jobs in June, though the agency has since adjusted that figure to 3,200. All told, there are now 17,200 fewer legal jobs in the U.S. than there were in July 2009, according to the BLS. (See the job reports for June, May, and April.)

Overall, economists attribute the country's broader job losses to the fact that work has ended for more than 140,000 temporary Census Bureau employees. Amid those losses, the private sector added 71,000 jobs in July--more than double the previous month's downwardly revised total of 31,000. And though the BLS originally reported total losses of 125,000 jobs in June, it has since revised that number to 221,000.

The manufacturing industry is one area that continues to see improvement, adding 36,000 jobs in June.

Both the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons--9.5 percent and 14.6 million, respectively--remained unchanged between June and July.

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