The U.S. legal industry gained 600 jobs in November amid a period of job growth in the overall American economy, the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.
The monthly BLS report on the employment situation in the U.S. showed that 1,128,700 people were employed in November in the legal services sector, which includes lawyers, legal secretaries, paralegals and other law-related jobs. Those figures, which are preliminary and could be revised, were released alongside a provisional report from BLS that the broader U.S. economy gained 228,000 nonfarm jobs in November, while the nation’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1 percent.
The figures released for November mark a modest increase over the legal services job numbers for October. On Friday, BLS reported that the legal industry employed 1,128,100 people in October, a total that reflects an upward revision of 1,900 jobs compared with what BLS showed in a preliminary report for October released last month.
November’s legal industry job figures remain within a range—between 1.12 million jobs and 1.13 million jobs—that has generally marked the upper and lower boundaries for the employment data since June 2013. Those totals amount to about 50,000 fewer jobs than the legal industry’s pre-recession high in 2007.
The November employment report also follows recent news of job reductions at large law firms.
Sedgwick, which in November confirmed that it will wind down and dissolve at the end of the year, indicated in a Missouri state regulatory filing that it plans to permanently shutter its back-office operations center in Kansas City. That move, part of the overall dissolution of the firm, would eliminate 75 jobs at the Sedgwick facility, starting on Jan. 20, according to the regulatory filing.
Husch Blackwell, which is based in Kansas City, confirmed in November that it, too, has job reductions planned. The firm said it is letting about 40 lawyers go, roughly 4 percent of Husch Blackwell’s overall head count. The departures are a mix of retirements and “year-end transitions” and will only affect partners and counse—not anyone at the associate ranks, the firm said.
The overall U.S. economy’s addition of 228,000 jobs in November, according to the preliminary BLS data, reportedly beat the expectations of Wall Street economists, who had predicted about 200,000 jobs would be added in the month. The Labor Department also reported that average nonfarm wages were up by 5 cents to $26.55 per hour. That marks a 64-cent increase since the start of 2017.