Economic News Release

Employer Costs for Employee Compensation news release text


FOR RELEASE 10:00 A.M. (EDT) WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, 2014                                   USDL-14-0390

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 – DECEMBER 2013


Private industry employers spent an average of $29.63 per hour worked for total employee 
compensation in December 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries 
averaged $20.76 per hour worked and accounted for 70.1 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged 
$8.87 and accounted for the remaining 29.9 percent. Total compensation costs for state and local 
government workers averaged $42.89 per hour worked in December 2013. Total employer 
compensation costs for civilian workers, which include private industry and state and local government 
workers, averaged $31.57 per hour worked in December 2013. 

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.  


          Introduction of 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC)

Beginning with this release, Employer Costs for Employee Compensation estimates are based on 
SOC 2010, rather than SOC 2000. For additional information, see the Technical Note on Page 4.


Paid leave costs in private industry

Private industry employer costs for paid leave benefits averaged $2.05 per hour worked. Private 
industry paid leave benefit costs were highest for management, professional, and related occupations, 
$4.39 per hour worked, or 8.5 percent of total compensation, in December 2013. Costs were lowest 
among service occupations, 57 cents, or 4.0 percent of total compensation. (See chart 1 and table 5.) 
Included in this amount were employer costs for vacations, holidays, sick leave, and personal leave. Paid 
leave benefit costs are often directly linked to wages; therefore, higher paid occupations or industries 
will typically show higher estimates for this compensation component.  

Paid leave costs in goods-producing industries were $2.34, greater than the average for service-
providing industries, $1.99, in December 2013. The average cost per hour worked for paid leave in 
service-providing industries ranged from $4.38 in information to 43 cents in leisure and hospitality.  
(See table 6.)  

Paid leave costs varied widely by establishment size in private industry. Paid leave costs for 
establishments with fewer than 100 workers were $1.45 per hour worked versus $2.10 for 
establishments with 100 to 499 employees and $3.68 with 500 employees or more. (See chart 2 and 
table 8.)

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

Legally required benefit costs in private industry

The average cost for legally required benefits was $2.43 per hour worked in private industry (8.2 
percent of total compensation) in December 2013. Social Security comprises the largest legally required 
benefit cost component at $1.39 per hour or 4.7 percent of total compensation. Legally required benefits 
such as Social Security and Medicare are often directly linked to wages; therefore, higher paid 
occupations or industries will typically show higher cost estimates for this compensation component.  
(See table 5.)

Costs for other legally required benefits include Workers’ compensation, which averaged 43 cents per 
hour worked (1.4 percent of total compensation); state unemployment insurance, which averaged 23 
cents per hour worked (0.8 percent); and federal unemployment insurance, which averaged just 4 cents 
per hour worked (0.1 percent). (See table 5.)

Employer costs for legally required benefits varied by occupational group. The average cost per hour 
worked for legally required benefits ranged from $3.53 for management, professional, and related 
occupations to $1.51 per hour for service occupations. The proportion of total compensation represented 
by legally required benefits ranged from 10.7 percent for service workers to 6.9 percent for 
management, professional, and related workers. (See chart 1 and table 5.)

Legally required benefit costs varied by establishment size in private industry ranging from $2.20 per 
hour worked for establishments with fewer than 100 employees to $3.10 for establishments with 500 
workers or more. (See chart 2 and table 8.)

Other benefit categories in private industry

Private industry employer costs averaged $2.45 per hour worked for insurance benefits (life, health, and 
disability insurance), or 8.3 percent of total compensation. In addition to insurance, the other benefit 
categories were: supplemental pay (overtime and premium, shift differentials, and nonproduction 
bonuses), which averaged 85 cents per hour worked (2.9 percent); and retirement and savings, which 
averaged $1.10 per hour (3.7 percent). (See table A and table 5.)  


Table A.  Relative importance of employer costs for employee compensation, December 2013
____________________________________________________________________________________________
Compensation                            Civilian       Private      State and local
  component                             workers        industry       government
____________________________________________________________________________________________
Wages and salaries                       69.0%          70.1%            64.5%
Benefits                                 31.0           29.9             35.5
   Paid leave                             7.0            6.9              7.3
   Supplemental pay                       2.4            2.9              0.8
   Insurance                              9.0            8.3             12.0
     Health benefits                      8.5            7.8             11.6
   Retirement and savings                 4.8            3.7              9.4
     Defined benefit                      3.0            1.6              8.6
     Defined contribution                 1.9            2.1              0.8
   Legally required                       7.8            8.2              6.0
____________________________________________________________________________________________

_____________
The Employer Costs for Employee Compensation for March 2014 is scheduled to be released on 
Wednesday, June 11, 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 for 15 metropolitan areas. Metropolitan area data will 
be included in the March 2014 news release on June 11, 2014. For further information about 
metropolitan area ECEC estimates see the September 2009 article: “BLS Introduces New Employer 
Costs for Employee Compensation Data for Private Industry Workers in 15 Metropolitan Areas,” at 
www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/cwc/bls-introduces-new-employer-costs-for-employee-compensation-data-for-
private-industry-workers-in-15-metropolitan-areas.pdf.

Supplemental tables with occupational, establishment size, and bargaining status series for detailed 
industries are available at www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/sp/ecsuphst.pdf and 
www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/sp/ecsuptc29.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.  

Historical ECEC data are available in three listings, all available at www.bls.gov/ect/#tables. 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: 
www.bls.gov/bls/list.htm.

The PDF version of the news release

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Last Modified Date: March 12, 2014
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