Household Consumption of Legal Services Grew (Trivially) in 2014

Behold, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that real household demand for legal services grew 0.31 percent in 2014.

Percent Change Real Personal Consumption Expenditures by Function

(Table National Income and Product Accounts, Table 2.5.3, my calculations)

Wowie zowie.

The amount of growth is worth about $270 million 2009 dollars, which doesn’t sound trivial, but it’s still $13.8 billion less than in 2003. I’m willing to bet that on a per household basis, it’s going nowhere, or, rather, even more nowhere to the extent that’s intelligible.

As the above chart suggests, household consumption of legal services grew less rapidly than overall household spending. In 2014, legal services amounted to 0.85 percent of all household expenditures, a record low going back to the mid-1980s and mid-1970s. In 2003, the peak was 1.05 percent, equivalent today to $121.2 billion in today’s dollars or a $23.1 billion deficit.

Legal Services Share of Household Consumption Expenditures

(Source: NIPA Table 2.5.5, my calculations)

Prior reporting on this topic can be found here.

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