Economic News Release

Employer Costs for Employee Compensation news release text

FOR RELEASE 10:00 A.M. (EDT) WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2014                                   USDL-14-1673

Technical information:  (202) 691-6199 
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902


Private industry employers spent an average of $30.11 per hour worked for employee compensation in 
June 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged $21.02 per 
hour worked and accounted for 69.8 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $9.09 and accounted 
for the remaining 30.2 percent. Total compensation costs for state and local government workers 
averaged $43.07 per hour worked in June 2014. Total compensation costs for civilian workers, which 
include private industry and state and local government workers, averaged $31.96 per hour worked in 
June 2014. 

Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC), a product of the National Compensation Survey, 
measures employer costs for wages, salaries, and employee benefits for nonfarm private and state and 
local government workers. 

              Corrected Data in Employer Costs for Employee Compensation

As a result of problems implementing the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification, Employer 
Costs for Employee Compensation data for December 2013 and March 2014 contained errors 
when originally published. These errors have been corrected in the database and historical listings. 
The errors were primarily in the management, professional, and related occupational group and 
sub-groups in civilian, private industry, and state and local government. There is no impact on 
June 2014 estimates. For further information, see

Retirement and savings costs in private industry

In June 2014, average costs in private industry for retirement and savings benefits were $1.23 per 
hour worked, or 4.1 percent of total compensation. The average cost per hour worked for defined 
benefit plans— retirement plans that specify a benefit typically based on age, years of service, and 
earnings—was 58 cents or 1.9 percent of total compensation. The average cost for defined contribution 
plans—retirement plans usually based on employer contributions to individual employee accounts—was 
65 cents or 2.2 percent of total compensation. (See table 5.) Employer costs for retirement and savings 
plans are affected by several factors, including the percentage of employees that participate in the plans 
offered by their employer. (The National Compensation Survey produces comprehensive data on the 
percentage of workers with access to and that participate in retirement plans. Data for March 2014 are 
available at

Retirement and savings costs varied widely by major occupational group.  Costs for management, 
professional, and related workers were $2.61 per hour worked (4.9 percent of total compensation), 
compared to $2.00 for natural resources, construction, and maintenance workers (6.0 percent) and 22 
cents for service workers (1.5 percent). (See chart 1 and table 5.) 

Retirement and savings costs were higher both in amount and as a proportion of total compensation for 
union workers ($4.02 and 9.1 percent of total compensation) than for nonunion workers (95 cents and 
3.3 percent of total compensation). Defined benefit plan costs were significantly higher for union 
workers ($2.97 and 6.7 percent of total compensation) than for nonunion workers (34 cents and 1.2 
percent of total compensation).  (See table 5.)

Retirement and savings costs were higher per hour worked in goods-producing industries ($1.88 and 
5.2 percent of total compensation) than in service-providing industries ($1.09 and 3.8 percent of total 
compensation). Within goods-producing industries, retirement and savings costs averaged $1.96 per 
hour in construction and $1.69 per hour in manufacturing. Costs in service-providing industries ranged 
from 18 cents in leisure and hospitality to $4.35 in the information industry. (See table 6.)

Retirement and savings costs increased both in cost per hour worked and proportion of total 
compensation with establishment employment size. Establishments with fewer than 100 workers 
averaged 72 cents (2.9 percent of total compensation), significantly less than establishments with 500 
workers or more, averaging $2.60 (5.9 percent). (See chart 2 and table 8.)

Benefit costs in private industry

Private industry employer costs for paid leave averaged $2.08 per hour worked or 6.9 percent of total 
compensation, supplemental pay averaged 85 cents or 2.8 percent, insurance benefits averaged $2.49 
or 8.3 percent, and legally required benefits averaged $2.44 per hour worked or 8.1 percent.  (See table 
A and table 5.) 

Table A.  Relative importance of employer costs for employee compensation, June 2014
Compensation                            Civilian       Private      State and local
  component                             workers        industry       government
Wages and salaries                       68.7%          69.8%            64.0%
Benefits                                 31.3           30.2             36.0
   Paid leave                             7.0            6.9              7.3
   Supplemental pay                       2.4            2.8              0.8
   Insurance                              9.0            8.3             12.0
     Health benefits                      8.6            7.8             11.7
   Retirement and savings                 5.2            4.1              9.9
     Defined benefit                      3.3            1.9              9.0
     Defined contribution                 1.9            2.2              0.8
   Legally required                       7.7            8.1              5.9

The Employer Costs for Employee Compensation for September 2014 is scheduled to be released on 
Wednesday, December 10, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. (EST).

Employer Costs for Employee Compensation data on total compensation, wages and salaries, and 
benefits in private industry are produced annually for 15 metropolitan areas. Selected metropolitan area 
data were most recently included in the March 2014 news release published in June 2014. For further 
information about metropolitan area ECEC estimates see: “BLS Introduces New Employer Costs for 
Employee Compensation Data for Private Industry Workers in 15 Metropolitan Areas,” at

Supplemental tables with occupational, establishment size, and bargaining status series by industry 
group are available at and
Relative standard errors for all cost estimates in the most recent news release and supplementary tables 
are available at  

Historical ECEC data are available in three listings at  The first historical 
listing covers data for the March reference periods from 1986 to 2001. These data use the Standard 
Industrial Classification (SIC) and Census of Population occupational classification systems.  The 
second listing contains data for the March, June, September, and December reference periods from 
March 2002 to December 2003. These data are also based on the SIC and Census of Population 
occupational classification systems. The final listing includes data for March 2004 to the current 
reference period. These are based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and 
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) systems. 

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request— 
Telephone:  (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service:  (800) 877-8339.

BLS news releases, including the ECEC, are available through an e-mail subscription service at:

The PDF version of the news release

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Last Modified Date: September 10, 2014
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