Economic News Release

Employer Costs for Employee Compensation news release text


FOR RELEASE 10:00 A.M. (EDT) WEDNESDAY, JUNE 11, 2014                                   USDL-14-1075

Technical information:  (202) 691-6199  NCSinfo@bls.gov  www.bls.gov/ect 
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902  PressOffice@bls.gov


                    EMPLOYER COSTS FOR EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION – MARCH 2014


Employer costs for employee compensation averaged $31.93 per hour worked in March 2014, the U.S. 
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged $21.96 per hour worked and 
accounted for 68.8 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $9.97 and accounted for the remaining 
31.2 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $29.99 per 
hour worked in March 2014. Total employer compensation costs for state and local government 
workers averaged $43.10 per hour worked in March 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. 

Private industry

Private industry employer costs for paid leave averaged $2.09 per hour worked (7.0 percent of total 
compensation), supplemental pay averaged 85 cents (2.8 percent), insurance benefits averaged $2.50 
(8.3 percent), retirement and savings averaged $1.15 (3.8 percent), and legally required benefits 
averaged $2.44 (8.1 percent). (See table A and table 5.)

Metropolitan area costs in private industry

Total compensation, wages and salaries, and benefit costs in private industry are included in this release 
for 15 combined and metropolitan statistical areas (CSAs and MSAs). Total compensation costs for the 
15 metropolitan areas ranged from $45.93 per hour worked for the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA 
CSA, to $24.10 hour worked in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL MSA. (See chart 1 and 
table 15.)

Health insurance costs in private industry

The average cost for health insurance benefits was $2.36 per hour worked in private industry (7.9 
percent of total compensation) in March 2014. In March 2004, employer costs for health benefits 
averaged $1.53, or 6.6 percent of total compensation.

Among occupational groups, employer costs for health insurance benefits ranged from 85 cents per hour 
worked and 6.0 percent of total compensation for service workers, to $3.52 and 6.7 percent of total 
compensation for management, professional, and related occupations. Among other occupational 
categories, employer costs for health benefits averaged $2.08 (9.0 percent of total compensation) for 
sales and office occupations, lower than $2.80 (8.5 percent) for natural resources, construction, and 
maintenance occupations, and $2.72 (10.4 percent) for production, transportation, and material moving 
occupations. (See table 5.)

Employer costs for health insurance benefits were significantly higher for union workers, averaging 
$5.54 per hour worked (12.6 percent of total compensation), than for nonunion workers, averaging $2.04 
(7.1 percent). (See table 5.) 

In goods-producing industries, health insurance benefit costs were higher, at $3.22 per hour worked (9.0 
percent of total compensation), than in service-providing industries, at $2.18 (7.6 percent).  In goods-
producing major industry groups, health insurance costs in construction averaged $2.61 per hour 
worked, lower than manufacturing health costs at $3.47 per hour worked.  For service-providing major 
industries groups, health costs ranged from $4.56 in information to 61 cents for leisure and hospitality.  
(See table 6.)

Health insurance benefit costs increased with establishment size for both average hourly dollar amount 
and as a proportion of total compensation. Establishments with 1-99 workers averaged $1.65 per hour 
worked (6.6 percent of total compensation); those with 100-499 employees averaged $2.61 (8.7 
percent); and those with 500 or more employees averaged $4.00 (9.1 percent). (See table 8 and chart 2.)

For information on health insurance provisions, see National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits 
in the United States, March 2013, at www.bls.gov/ncs/ebs/benefits/2013/benefits.htm. 


Table A.  Relative importance of employer costs for employee compensation, March 2014
____________________________________________________________________________________________
Compensation                            Civilian       Private      State and local
  component                             workers        industry       government
____________________________________________________________________________________________
Wages and salaries                       68.8%          69.9%            64.4%
Benefits                                 31.2           30.1             35.6
   Paid leave                             7.0            7.0              7.3
   Supplemental pay                       2.4            2.8              0.8
   Insurance                              9.1            8.3             11.9
     Health benefits                      8.6            7.9             11.7
   Retirement and savings                 5.0            3.8              9.6
     Defined benefit                      3.1            1.7              8.8
     Defined contribution                 1.9            2.2              0.9
   Legally required                       7.7            8.1              6.0
____________________________________________________________________________________________

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


Employer Costs for Employee Compensation data on total compensation, wages and salaries, and 
benefits in private industry are produced annually in the March reference period for 15 metropolitan 
areas. 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 http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/cwc/bls-introduces-new-employer-costs-for-employee-
compensation-data-for-private-industry-workers-in-15-metropolitan-areas.pdf.

Historical ECEC data are available in three listings, all available at www.bls.gov/ect/#tables. The 
earliest 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. A 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 most recent listing includes data from March 2004 to the 
current reference period. These are based on the North American Industry Classification System 
(NAICS) and Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) systems. 

Supplemental tables with occupational, establishment size, and bargaining status series by industry 
group are available at www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/sp/ecsuphst.pdf and www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/sp/ecsuptc30.pdf.

Relative standard errors for all cost estimates in the most recent news release and supplementary tables 
are available at www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/sp/ecsuprse.pdf.  

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: 
www.bls.gov/bls/list.htm.

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Last Modified Date: June 11, 2014
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