The U.S. legal services sector added 1,200 jobs in December, continuing a trend of growth over the final four months of 2015, according to seasonally adjusted preliminary data released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The legal industry employed 1,128,000 people in December, according to BLS’ preliminary figures. Friday’s estimates account for 8,000 more people working in legal services than in the same period in 2014. The number is also up from a revised preliminary total of 1,126,800 legal services jobs in November.
The gains shown in December’s preliminary figures are an extension of a months-long positive trend for the industry. After losing jobs in August, the legal services sector saw increases in September, October and November. Friday’s release from BLS comes after the industry gained a modest 200 jobs in November, a figure revised downward from a previously reported gain of 600 jobs.
The December uptick in legal services jobs comes alongside broader employment growth in the U.S. economy, according to BLS.
The U.S. added 292,000 jobs in December across all industries except for farming, the Labor Department’s preliminary data show. Increases came in professional and business services, health care, construction and food services industries, among others.
BLS also unveiled upward revisions to the total U.S. jobs figures for October and November, saying that 50,000 more jobs were added to the economy than previously reported. The October gains were revised to 307,000—up from the prior reports of 298,000—while the November jobs gains were revised to 252,000 from 211,000. The economy added an average of 284,000 jobs over the final three months of 2015, according to BLS.
The overall national unemployment rate in December remained static at 5 percent, where it’s been since October. That’s down from the 5.7 percent unemployment rate reported in January 2015.