Economic News Release

Technical Note

                                       TECHNICAL NOTE

Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC) measures the average cost to employers for wages 
and salaries and benefits per employee hour worked.

ECEC includes the civilian economy, which includes data from both private industry and state and local 
government. Excluded from private industry are the self-employed and farm and private household 
workers. Federal government workers are excluded from the public sector. The private industry series 
and the state and local government series provide data for the two sectors separately.

Sample size

Data for the March 2015 reference period were collected from a probability sample of approximately 
37,400 occupational observations selected from a sample of about 8,600 private industry establishments 
and approximately 8,900 occupational observations selected from a sample of about 1,500 state and 
local government establishments that provided data at the initial interview.  

Comparing private and public sector data

Compensation cost levels in state and local government should not be directly compared with levels in 
private industry. Differences between these sectors stem from factors such as variation in work activities 
and occupational structures. Manufacturing and sales, for example, make up a large part of private 
industry work activities but are rare in state and local government. Professional and administrative 
support occupations (including teachers) account for two-thirds of the state and local government 
workforce, compared with one-half of private industry.

ECEC quarterly publication focus

ECEC news releases are published quarterly, providing civilian, private industry, and state and local 
government cost per hour estimates as well as additional detail on a specific compensation cost topic of 
interest. This quarter focuses on employer compensation costs in selected metropolitan areas and health 
benefit costs in private industry. Topics of news releases for the upcoming reference periods are as 

         *   June 2015—Retirement and savings benefit costs in private industry
         *   September 2015—Compensation costs in state and local government
         *   December 2015—Supplemental pay benefit costs in private industry

ECEC detailed information and measures

For detailed information on Employer Costs for Employee Compensation, see Chapter 8,”National 
Compensation Measures,” of the BLS Handbook of Methods at:

Table of Contents

Last Modified Date: June 10, 2015
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