FOR RELEASE 10:00 A.M. (EST) WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2014 USDL-14-2208
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Media contact: (202) 691-5902 pressOffice@bls.gov
EMPLOYER COSTS FOR EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION – SEPTEMBER 2014
Employer costs for employee compensation for civilian workers averaged $32.20 per hour worked in
September 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged
$22.13 per hour worked and accounted for 68.7 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $10.07
and accounted for the remaining 31.3 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry
workers averaged $30.32 per hour worked in September 2014.
Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC), a product of the National Compensation Survey,
measures employer costs for wages and salaries, and employee benefits for nonfarm private and state
and local government workers.
Compensation costs in state and local government
State and local government employers spent an average of $43.56 per hour worked for employee
compensation in September 2014. Wages and salaries averaged $27.89 per hour and accounted for 64.0
percent of compensation costs, while benefits averaged $15.67 per hour worked and accounted for the
remaining 36.0 percent. Total compensation costs for management, professional, and related workers
averaged $52.88 per hour worked. This major occupational group includes teachers, averaging $59.42
per hour worked. Total compensation for sales and office workers averaged $30.00 per hour worked and
service workers averaged $32.82. (See chart 1 and table 4.)
For state and local government employees, employer costs for insurance benefits averaged $5.21 per
hour, or 12.0 percent of total compensation. The largest component of insurance costs in September
2014 was health insurance, which averaged $5.09, or 11.7 percent of total compensation. In September
2004, employer costs for health insurance averaged $3.49 per hour worked, or 10.0 percent of total
compensation. (See chart 2 and table 3.)
In September 2014, the average cost for retirement and savings benefits was $4.34 per hour worked in
state and local government, or 10.0 percent of total compensation. Included in this amount were
employer costs for defined benefit plans, which averaged $3.98 per hour (9.1 percent of total
compensation), and defined contribution plans, which averaged 36 cents (0.8 percent). In September
2004, employer costs for retirement and savings averaged $2.23 per hour worked, or 6.4 percent of total
compensation. (See chart 2 and table 3.) Defined benefit plans specify a formula for determining future
benefits, while defined contribution plans specify employer contributions but do not guarantee the
amount of future benefits.
Two components of benefit costs are paid leave and legally required benefits. Paid leave benefit costs
include vacation, holiday, sick leave, and personal leave. The average cost for paid leave was $3.18 per
hour worked for state and local government employees. Costs for legally required benefits, including
Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance (both state and federal), and workers’
compensation, averaged $2.58 per hour worked. (See table 3.)
The National Compensation Survey produces data on the percentage of state and local government
workers with access to and participation in employee benefit plans, including health and retirement and
savings plans. Detailed data on health and retirement plan provisions are available at www.bls.gov/ebs.
Table A. Relative importance of employer costs for employee compensation, September 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 8.5 7.8 11.7
Retirement and savings 5.2 4.1 10.0
Defined benefit 3.3 1.9 9.1
Defined contribution 1.9 2.1 0.8
Legally required 7.7 8.1 5.9
The Employer Costs for Employee Compensation for December 2014 is scheduled to be released
on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, 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. Selected metropolitan area data were 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 www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/cwc/bls-introduces-new-employer-costs-for-employee-compensation-
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/ecsuptc32.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.
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 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: