Lawyers are out of work, too.
Once guaranteed a shot at the good life, a growing number of those who practice law find themselves among the unemployed. This spring, out-of-work attorneys are being joined in the brutal job market by hundreds of newly minted lawyers graduating from the state's seven law schools, many planning to take the bar exam this summer.
"It's not a happy picture," said Allan Head, director of the N.C. Bar Association, a voluntary professional organization with 13,500 members across the state. "I can't remember a time when lawyers were being laid off."
Nationally, the unemployment rate in 2008 for the legal profession, including paralegals as well as lawyers, was at the highest it's been in years -- 2.6 percent, approximately 44,000 people, according to data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number is believed to have increased this year.