Legal Jobs Report: May 2015

Total employment increased by 223,000 in April, and the unemployment rate is at 5.4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The legal industry added 2,300 jobs on April. Expected growth overall in legal occupations is consistent with other industries, at is 11%  over 10 years from 2012 to 2022, to a total of 834,700 employees .  The number of lawyers specifically is also expected to grow 10% over the same time period. 

May Legal Jobs Report

According to The American Bar Association,  there are fewer law school graduates on the market looking for work, which improves the job outlook for entry-level lawyers. The class of 2014 had 43,832 graduates, which is a 6.5 percent decrease from the previous year’s 46,776 graduates, which was the largest-ever class. As of March 15, nearly 60 percent of all 2014 law school graduates were requiring bar passage and full-time employed in legal jobs with long-term opportunity.

This is an increase from last year of almost 3%; in 2013, within nine months of graduating 57 percent of all  of the year’s law school graduates were in full-time, long-term employed and required a license to practice law. Read the complete article at

The legal industry continues to grow

However, according to the BLS, we may still see growth in a variety of other legal professions. Despite a need for legal services, price competition over the next several years may lead law firms to re-evaluate their project staffing in an attempt to reduce costs to clients. As clients trim down on legal expenses, demand less expensive rates, and continue to scrutinize dollars invoiced, work  such as document review, which was previously assigned to lawyers, may now be assigned instead to legal assistants and paralegals.

The average workweek for employees on private, non-farm payrolls remained consistent in April at 34.5 hours.The average workweek for non-supervisory and production employees was steady at 33.7 hours, and the workweek decreased to 40.8 hours for employees in manufacturing. Factory overtime also saw a decline, and to 3.2 hours.

The average hourly earnings, however, did see a marginal increase of 3 cents to $24.87. Over the past 12 months, the average earnings per hour increased by 2.2%. Average hourly earnings rose by 2 cents for private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees.

Revisions from February and March

The change in total non-farm payroll employment for February and March were revised, from +264,000 to +266,000, and +126,000 to +85,000 respectively. After incorporating these revisions, combined employment gains in both months were actually 39,000 lower than previously reported. Over the course of the last 3 months, job increases have been an average of 191,000 per month.

Special Counsel releases monthly economic reports for employers in order to share important hiring and employment information. To learn more about the trends in the legal staffing market, contact a Special Counsel representative near you. Contact us today.

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