Overview of BLS Statistics on Pay and Benefits

BLS has 12 surveys or programs that provide information on pay and benefits. Choosing the data source that is right for your needs can be a challenge. We have an interactive table to help you compare the features of each sources.

BLS data on pay and benefits are available for occupations, industries, geographic areas, and the demographic characteristics of workers. Here is an overview of some of our data sources:

National Compensation Data

The National Compensation Survey provides comprehensive measures of occupational earnings; compensation cost trends, benefit incidence, and detailed plan provisions. Detailed occupational earnings are available for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas, broad geographic regions, and on a national basis. The Employment Cost Index measures changes in labor costs. Employer Costs for Employee Compensation present average hourly employer costs for employee compensation.

Employee Benefits

National Compensation Survey–Benefits provides information on the share of workers who participate in specified benefits, such as health care, retirement plans, and paid vacations. These data also show the details of those benefits, such as deductible amounts, retirement ages, and amounts of paid leave.

Wages by Area and Occupation

Wage data are available by occupation for the nation, regions, states, and many metropolitan areas. Wage data by area and occupation are from the National Compensation Survey, Occupational Employment Statistics survey, and the Current Population Survey.

Earnings by Demographics

Earnings data are available by demographic characteristics such as age, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. See also Earnings by education.

Earnings by Industry

The Current Employment Statistics survey is a monthly survey of the payroll records of business establishments that provides national estimates of average weekly hours and average hourly earnings for the private sector for all employees and for production and nonsupervisory employees. Average weekly overtime hours in manufacturing are also available. State and area estimates of hours and earnings from this survey are available for all employees as well as for production workers (in the goods-producing industries) and nonsupervisory workers (in the private service-providing industries).

County Wages (Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages)

Annual and quarterly wage data are available by detailed industry for the Nation, states, and many metropolitan areas and counties.

Compensation Research and Program Development Group

The Compensation Research and Program Development Group (CRPDG) carries out research that addresses methodological, conceptual, and technical issues of concern to the Office of Compensation and Working Conditions (OCWC) and other Bureau programs.

Minimum Wage Workers

We publish an annual report and data files on workers with hourly earnings at or below the prevailing Federal minimum wage.


What BLS Does Not Have

BLS does not publish detailed information on household income, which includes not only wages and salaries, but also interest, dividends, pensions, etc. Information on household income is available from the U.S. Census Bureau.



Last Modified Date: October 1, 2018