The legal sector lost 2,400 jobs in January, according to seasonally adjusted preliminary employment data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The losses effectively wiped out all the jobs the industry gained in December—a figure that Friday’s report revised upward to 1,900 from an original estimate of 1,000. The latest BLS report also revised the agency’s November estimate from 200 jobs lost to 1,000 jobs gained.
(BLS economist Karen Kosanovich tells The Am Law Daily that the January jobs report sometimes includes particularly dramatic revisions to previously released figures because the payroll survey used to calculate the agency’s estimates undergoes an annual benchmark adjustment at the start of the year to incorporate data related to unemployment insurance claims filed by employers.)
Factoring in the most recent adjustments and revisions, the legal sector now employs 6,500 more people than it did at the same point last year. And though the 1.125 million people currently working in legal services jobs make the sector’s workforce the biggest it’s been since May 2009, the industry has still shed about 50,000 positions since its precession peak.
As The Am Law Daily reported last month, the legal sector grew at a slower pace than the broader economy in 2012. The industry saw a net gain of 7,800 jobs for the year—a 0.7 percent increase over 2011—while the workforce at large grew 1.4 percent in the same period.
Overall, though the nation’s economy added 157,000 jobs in January, the unemployment rate rose slightly, from 7.8 percent to 7.9, according to Friday’s BLS report. The total number of jobs the economy added in December, meanwhile, was revised upward from 155,000 jobs to 196,000.