After what initially seemed like a promising month in May, the legal sector saw its employment numbers drop by 3,900 in June, according to the latest economic report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Last month's BLS report initially indicated an increase of 300 jobs in legal services in May, but now the adjusted numbers point to a loss of 600 jobs that month. The new May figure, coupled with the massive drop reported Friday, highlights how tight the legal job market has been -- the sector has lost 22,200 jobs since this time a year ago. (See the recent jobs reports for May, April and March.)
Nationally, the country added 83,000 jobs in the private sector, but lost 125,000 positions overall. A bump in overall employment in May -- attributable to the hiring of 411,000 temporary government employees for the 2010 Census -- was followed by the drop, as many of the census workers' jobs now are over.
The national unemployment rate actually fell from 9.7 percent to 9.5 percent, due to a national labor force that dropped by 652,000 jobs, the New York Times reports. Almost half of the nation's unemployed, roughly 6.8 million people, have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. That figure is unchanged from last month's report.
The slight bump up in private sector positions came in the manufacturing and health industries -- each saw an increase of 9,000 jobs. Not surprisingly given the onset of summer, the "amusements, gambling, and recreating" sector saw a boost of 27,700 jobs.
This article first appeared on The Am Law Daily blog on AmericanLawyer.com.