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Legal sector headcount dropped 5.5% in April to nearly 20 year low

The U.S. legal industry cut 64,000 jobs in April, dropping approximately 5.5% to 1,097,600 jobs, a nearly 20-year low, according to a report released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor, as the coronavirus pandemic batters the nation’s economy and sparks layoffs at law firms.

The last time that the U.S. legal industry’s total headcount was below 1.1 million was in October 2001, according to data from the Department of Labor, and the sector’s headcount had risen relatively steadily from mid-2000 until around 2007. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the legal sector hit its lowest employment numbers in Dec. 2009 at 1,109,900 total jobs.

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