Employer Costs for Employee Compensation news release text

FOR RELEASE 10:00 A.M. (EST) THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 2016                                   USDL-16-0463

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 for civilian workers averaged $33.58 per hour worked in 
December 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged 
$23.06 per hour worked and accounted for 68.7 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $10.52 
and accounted for the remaining 31.3 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry 
workers averaged $31.70 per hour worked in December 2015.    

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.

Benefit costs in private industry

Private industry employer costs for paid leave averaged $2.18 per hour worked or 6.9 percent of total 
compensation, supplemental pay averaged $1.06 or 3.3 percent, insurance benefits averaged $2.54 or 
8.0 percent, retirement and savings averaged $1.25 or 4.0 percent, and legally required benefits 
averaged $2.53 per hour worked or 8.0 percent. (See table A and table 5.) 

Supplemental pay benefit costs in private industry

Supplemental pay costs for private industry workers in December 2015 averaged $1.06 per hour worked 
or 3.3 percent of total compensation. Supplemental pay includes employer costs for employee overtime 
and premium pay, shift differentials, and nonproduction bonuses. 

In December 2015, the largest component of supplemental pay costs for private industry employers were 
nonproduction bonuses, averaging 74 cents per hour worked or 2.3 percent of total compensation. (See 
table 5.) Nonproduction bonuses are given at the discretion of the employer and are not tied to a 
production formula. Common nonproduction bonuses include end-of-year and holiday bonuses, referral 
bonuses, and cash profit sharing. For more information on nonproduction bonus access rates, please see 
National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in the United States, March 2015 at 

Overtime and premium pay averaged 26 cents per hour worked in December 2015. Overtime and 
premium supplemental pay includes pay for work in addition to the regular work schedule. Shift 
differentials, or extra payments for working a non-traditional work schedule, averaged only 6 cents per 
hour worked. (See table 5.)

Supplemental pay averaged $1.47 per hour worked for union workers and $1.02 for nonunion workers.  
For union workers, the largest supplemental pay component was overtime and premium pay at 90 cents 
per hour worked. For nonunion workers, nonproduction bonuses was the largest component at 77 cents 
per hour worked. (See table 5.)  

Supplemental pay varied widely by major occupational and industry groups. For major occupational 
groups, supplemental pay ranged from $2.26 per hour worked for management, professional, and related 
workers to 25 cents for service workers. (See chart 1 and table 5.) Major industry groups also showed 
wide variation for supplemental pay, with information workers averaging $2.32 per hour worked and 
financial activities workers averaging $2.03 compared to 15 cents for leisure and hospitality workers. 
(See chart 2 and table 6.)  

The Middle Atlantic census division showed supplemental pay costs at $2.20 per hour worked while the 
East South Central census division had costs at 67 cents. (See table 7.) Supplemental pay by 
establishment employment size ranged from 84 cents per hour worked for under 100 workers compared 
with $1.85 for 500 workers or more. (See table 8.) Supplemental pay costs for full-time workers averaged 
$1.36 per hour worked versus 24 cents for part-time workers. (See table 11.)  

Table A.  Relative importance of employer costs for employee compensation, December 2015

Compensation                            Civilian       Private      State and local
  component                             workers        industry       government
Wages and salaries                       68.7%          69.8%            63.6%
Benefits                                 31.3           30.2             36.4
   Paid leave                             6.9            6.9              7.2
   Supplemental pay                       2.9            3.3              0.8
   Insurance                              8.8            8.0             11.9
     Health benefits                      8.3            7.6             11.6
   Retirement and savings                 5.2            4.0             10.6
     Defined benefit                      3.3            1.7              9.8
     Defined contribution                 2.0            2.2              0.8
   Legally required                       7.6            8.0              5.9

The Employer Costs for Employee Compensation for March 2016 is scheduled to be released on 
Thursday, June 9, 2016, 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 2015 news release published in June 
2015. 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/ecsuptc37.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/ececrse.pdf and 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: 

The PDF version of the news release

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Last Modified Date: March 10, 2016