Employer Costs for Employee Compensation news release text


FOR RELEASE 10:00 A.M. (EDT) WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10, 2015                                   USDL-15-1132

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 2015


Employer costs for employee compensation averaged $33.49 per hour worked in March 2015, the U.S. 
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged $22.88 per hour worked and 
accounted for 68.3 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $10.61 and accounted for the 
remaining 31.7 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged 
$31.65 per hour worked in March 2015. Total employer compensation costs for state and local 
government workers averaged $44.25 per hour worked in March 2015.  

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. 

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 $49.26 per hour worked in the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA 
CSA, to $25.14 per hour worked in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ MSA. (See chart 1 and table 15.)

Health insurance costs in private industry

The average cost for health insurance benefits was $2.43 per hour worked in private industry (7.7 
percent of total compensation) in March 2015. 

Among occupational groups, employer costs for health insurance benefits ranged from 89 cents per hour 
worked and 6.1 percent of total compensation for service workers, to $3.71 and 6.6 percent of total 
compensation for management, professional, and related occupations. Among other occupational 
categories, employer costs for health benefits averaged $2.09 (8.7 percent of total compensation) for 
sales and office occupations, lower than $2.90 (8.5 percent) for natural resources, construction, and 
maintenance occupations, and $2.74 (10.1 percent) for production, transportation, and material moving 
occupations. (See table 5 and chart 2.)

Employer costs for health insurance benefits were significantly higher for union workers, averaging 
$5.65 per hour worked (12.1 percent of total compensation), than for nonunion workers, averaging $2.11 
(7.0 percent). (See table 5.) 

In goods-producing industries, health insurance benefit costs were higher, at $3.30 per hour worked (8.9 
percent of total compensation), than in service-providing industries, at $2.25 (7.4 percent). (See table 6.)

Among the four regions, costs for health insurance benefits ranged from $2.06 per hour worked (7.1 
percent of total compensation) in the South to $2.98 (7.7 percent) in the Northeast. Health insurance 
costs were $2.48 (8.5 percent) in the Midwest and $2.47 (7.7 percent) in the West. (See table 7.)

Health insurance benefit costs increased, both in average hourly dollar amount and as a proportion of 
total compensation, with establishment size. Establishments with fewer than 50 workers averaged $1.58 
per hour worked (6.2 percent of total compensation); those with 50-99 workers averaged $2.08 (7.1 
percent); those with 100-499 employees averaged $2.71 (8.5 percent); and those with 500 or more 
employees averaged $4.13 (8.9 percent). (See table 8.)

For information on health insurance provisions, see National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits 
in the United States, March 2014, at www.bls.gov/ncs/ebs/benefits/2014/benefits.htm and National 
Compensation Survey: Health and Retirement Plan Provisions in the United States, 2014, at 
www.bls.gov/ncs/ebs/detailedprovisions/2014/ownership/private/ebbl0056.pdf 

Other benefit categories in private industry

Private industry employer costs for paid leave averaged $2.18 per hour worked (6.9 percent of total 
compensation), supplemental pay averaged $1.12 (3.6 percent), insurance benefits averaged $2.58 (8.2 
percent), retirement and savings averaged $1.31 (4.1 percent), and legally required benefits averaged 
$2.51 (7.9 percent). (See table A and table 5.)



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

Compensation                            Civilian       Private      State and local
  component                             workers        industry       government
____________________________________________________________________________________________
Wages and salaries                       68.3%          69.3%            64.0%
Benefits                                 31.7           30.7             36.0
   Paid leave                             7.0            6.9              7.3
   Supplemental pay                       3.0            3.6              0.8
   Insurance                              8.9            8.2             11.9
     Health benefits                      8.4            7.7             11.6
   Retirement and savings                 5.3            4.1             10.2
     Defined benefit                      3.4            1.9              9.3
     Defined contribution                 1.9            2.2              0.9
   Legally required                       7.5            7.9              5.9
____________________________________________________________________________________________


______________         
Employer Costs for Employee Compensation for June 2015 is scheduled to be released on 
Wednesday, September 9, 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. 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 by industry 
group are available at www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/sp/ecsuptc34.pdf and www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/sp/ecsuphst.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 
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. 

The Consolidated Statistical Areas (CSAs) and Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are defined by the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 2003 area definitions.  For more information on the area 
definitions, visit www.census.gov/population/metro/data/pastmetro.html.

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 10, 2015