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Legal sector loses 4,300 jobs in July, ends growth streak

August 7, 2017

The U.S. legal sector suffered a loss in the number of available jobs in July, bringing an end to a three-month streak of job growth.

Last month, 1,126,400 seasonally adjusted jobs were available in the legal profession, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent Economic News Release posted Friday.  That’s down about 4,300 jobs from the 1,130,700 available in June, and 1,128,100 available in May. However, the July 2017 jobs report represents an increase over the same time last year, when 1,121,400 seasonally adjusted positions were available in the legal sector.

The July job drop brings an end to a three-month increase in available positions in the legal market, according to a report from the ABA Journal. The BLS numbers come on the heels of a similar report from the National Association for Law Placement, which found only 31,354 law school graduates from the Class of 2016 found jobs within 10 months of graduation, roughly 2,000 less than their counterparts in the Class of 2015. Further, the number of jobs secured decreased in every sector, except for the largest law firms with more than 500 lawyers.

Despite that drop, the recent graduate employment rate rose to 87.5 percent with the Class of 2016, compare to 86.7 percent for the Class of 2015. NALP Executive Director James G. Leipold attributed that discrepancy to the fact that “the falloff in the size of the graduating class has been larger than the falloff in the number of jobs secured.”

The full set of BLS data can be read here.

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