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
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
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
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: