"Last year, I would say that the associate market was dead and buried," Jameson says. "This year, they're digging out of the grave. We are seeing firms looking to bring in associates on a very limited basis."
And for the sector as a whole, Labor Department reports over the past few months showed a gradual slowing of job losses before May's first employment uptick, Leipold says.
"We need to see more than one month to call it a trend in terms of job gains," he says. "But it's better than job losses."