The legal sector added jobs for the second straight month as 600 people joined the industry’s work force in October, according to preliminary data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Friday’s report also revised the agency’s original estimate for the number of jobs gained by the legal sector in September upward from 1,000 to 1,300, as well as its August figures to reflect a loss of 1,100, rather than 1,400, jobs.
Factoring in the October bump, the BLS’s seasonally adjusted figures show the legal sector enjoying a net gain of 6,000 jobs since the start of 2012. The industry now employs 6,600 more people than it did in October 2011 and about 1.12 million people all told. While that figure represents a peak in legal hiring since July 2009, it is still several thousand jobs short of the 1.17 million people the industry typically employed prior to the financial crisis.
Overall, the U.S. economy added a greater-than-expected 171,000 jobs in October, according to Friday’s BLS report. The BLS also adjusted September’s overall employment figures to show bigger gains, to 148,000 from 114,000.
Despite the uptick in hiring last month, the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent as 578,000 people entered the labor force. With Friday’s report arriving just four days before Election Day, the jobs data is likely to figure into last-minute campaigning by both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.