The U.S. legal services industry saw modest employment gains in April, adding 800 jobs in a month that saw total unemployment in the U.S. drop to a level not seen in nearly two decades, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
The legal sector employed 1,136,300 people in April, according to the monthly jobs report from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. The data for the legal services industry take account of lawyers, paralegals, legal secretaries and other law-related professions. The figures, released by BLS on Friday morning, are provisional and could be revised, and they are also seasonally adjusted.
The report shows an increase of 800 jobs over the number of people employed in the legal industry in March. On Friday, BLS also reported a downward revision for March’s employment figures compared with what it originally reported last month. Initially, the agency showed the sector adding jobs in March, but Friday’s release shows that employment in the industry remained flat at 1,135,500 jobs in both February and March.
The legal employment figures in April remained within a range that’s prevailed over the past few years. According to historical BLS data, the industry has employed more than 1.13 million people in every month from December 2016 onward. Although there have been ups and downs over that same period, the employment figures have remained between 1.13 million and 1.14 million since December 2016.
April’s increase in legal services employment paralleled the results of the U.S. economy overall, which added 164,000 jobs in the month, according to BLS. That figure, which marks the 91st consecutive month of job growth in the country, reportedly fell short of the 193,000 jobs that Wall Street economists had predicted the economy would add in the month.
The unemployment rate in the country also dropped in April. After remaining steady at 4.1 percent for six months, BLS on Friday reported an unemployment of 3.9 percent for April, the lowest that figure has been since 2000.
Wages for nonfarm jobs in the U.S. were on the rise in April, with average hourly earnings increasing by 6 cents to $26.84. Over the year so far, nonfarm hourly wages have increased by 67 cents, according to BLS.