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

The ECEC cost levels for this quarter were collected from a probability sample of approximately 29,200 
occupations selected from a sample of about 6,900 establishments in private industry and approximately 
8,800 occupations from a sample of about 1,500 establishments in state and local government.  

Comparing ECEC and Employment Cost Index (ECI) data

Current employment weights are used to calculate ECEC cost levels.  The weights are derived from the 
Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) and the Current Employment Statistics (CES).  
The ECI, which measures the change in employer costs for employee compensation, is calculated with 
fixed 2012 employment counts to prevent employment shifts among occupations and industries from 
influencing the changes.  Therefore, changes over time in the ECEC will likely differ from those in the 
ECI.  For additional information, see

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 supplemental pay benefit costs in private industry. Topics of news 
releases for the upcoming reference periods are as follows:
          *   March 2016—Health benefit costs in private industry
          *   June 2016—Retirement and savings costs in private industry

ECEC detailed information and measures

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

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Last Modified Date: March 10, 2016