Number of US legal jobs rises in June

The latest figures from the US Department of Labour showed a slight rise in the overall level of legal market employment.

According to government statistics for June, although 62,000 non-farm payroll jobs disappeared nationally, the number of jobs in the legal sector rose by 300.

The monthly rise follows three consecutive falls in the number of US legal market jobs. As reported by The Lawyer last month (23 June), the US legal market lost 1,100 jobs in May alone.

Despite June’s increase, the single monthly improvement is widely thought unlikely to herald the end of lawyer redundancies among US firms.

New York recruitment consultant Gwen Feder of the Petersan Group summed up the scepticism about the apparent recovery in the recruitment market: “I can’t imagine where they found 300 extra jobs.”

In the US some 1.17 million positions are characterised as belonging to the legal services sector. They include a variety of classes of employment, ranging from associates and paralegals to legal librarians and secretaries.

The government’s seasonally adjusted figures showed a reduction of 6,200 in legal sector jobs over the past 12 months.

The total number of unemployed in the US was essentially unchanged in June, at 8.5 million, while the unemployment rate remained at 5.5 per cent. This time last year, the total number of unemployed was seven million while the jobless rate was 4.6 per cent.