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Legal sector rebounds across the Pacific

The American legal sector gained 300 jobs in May, reversing a recent downward trend and catching some ground on Australia's more optimistic market. Figures released by the US Bureau of Labor…

The American legal sector gained 300 jobs in May, reversing a recent downward trend and catching some ground on Australia's more optimistic market.

Figures released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the American workforce added 431,000 people last month. However, the vast majority of that number (around 411,000), are temporary employees hired by the government to work on the American census.

The growth in jobs for May pushed the US unemployment rate down from 9.9 per cent in April to 9.7 per cent.

The growth in legal jobs provided some much needed respite for the ailing sector, with 1600 legal jobs lost in March and April, with a total of 22,200 legal jobs disappearing since May 2009.

The Australian economy, while not hit by the global financial crisis as hard as the USA, has continued its steady recovery.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey provided a positive third quarter forecast for the Australian labour market. It described hiring optimism as being "soaring".

"The recovery has definitely hit the jobs market, with the employment outlook at its strongest point in two years. This is good news for job seekers, and the Australian economy," said Lincoln Crawley, managing director of Manpower Australia & New Zealand.

Similarly, the Hays Salary Guide released last week found that 45 per cent of employers expect to increase their numbers of permanent staff, a significant increase on the figure for last year (21 per cent). The director of Hays Legal, Darren Buchanan, said that the demand for lawyers in Australia started to increase in late 2009.

"Today, quality candidates are in a much stronger position than they were one year ago," he said. "From top tier to small firms, private practice as well as in-house and government, all are recruiting again."

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