While some areas of law thrive when the economy turns downward, overall the solicitor job market follows the economic trend.
The number of jobs advertised on the internet in February 2019 for all occupations across Australia was 2.5% lower than 12 months ago. Because of the steady five year increase in the demand for labour, it was still 23.1% higher than February 2014.
Job ads are a lead indicator whereas the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator. The most recent unemployment rate is 4.9%. It has come down from 6.4% since 2015 but it may have reached its low point in this cycle.
The number of Job ads for solicitors has been flat since mid 2018.
The graph below shows solicitor job ad numbers since February 2010. Similar to the general economy, it is still 26% higher than February 2014. After this flattening out of the curve, the most likely move will be down. The reason is that in the general economy, job ads were down significantly in the following states compared to 12 months ago: NSW -4.4%, Qld -4.3% and SA -3.5%. Victoria was flat at +0.1%.
Source: Australian Government Department of Jobs and Small Business.