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Jobless Claims Fall in Georgia Legal Industry

Labor Department data show filings in November dropped 44.6 percent for lawyers and 22.8 percent for support staff

, Daily Report

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Unemployment filings for Georgia lawyers and legal support staff dropped sharply in November.

Figures from the Georgia Department of Labor show that a total of 179 lawyers and support staff filed for unemployment, a 28.5 percent decrease from October.

Unemployment claims made by lawyers decreased from 65 in October to 36 in November, a decrease of 44.6 percent. Those for legal staff dropped from 184 to 142, a decrease of 22.8 percent.

Total Georgia unemployment claims also fell in November but by a smaller percentage than for lawyers and legal support staff. Statewide, 33,781 residents filed for unemployment, a 15.8 percent drop from October.

Claims for Atlanta residents were down 25.6 percent, with 16,222 claims filed.

The Department of Labor's statistics for legal workers are for law firms only, not lawyers and staff in government or corporate law departments. Those workers are categorized as government workers or in their company's industry.

The figures track only law firm personnel who are covered by their firm's unemployment insurance—generally salaried workers and not partners. Partners, who are self-employed, are far less likely to pay for unemployment insurance, since the top weekly payout in Georgia for unemployment benefits is $330, a fraction of most partners' income.

The number of unemployment claims made by lawyers was also lower than it was a year ago. In November 2012, 46 lawyers filed for unemployment statewide, so the 36 claims filed in November represented a 21.7 percent decrease.

But claims for legal staff increased slightly year over year. Legal staff filed 138 claims in November 2012, so the 142 filed in November 2013 represented a 2.9 percent increase.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in a new report on employment projections from 2012 to 2022, found that 31,600 lawyer jobs were created between 2010 and 2012, for a total of 759,800 employed lawyers. (This figure does not include judges.)

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