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Impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on Employer Costs for Employee Compensation data for March 2021

This page provides further information on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for the March 2021 Employer Costs for Employee Compensation news release.

Collection mode

Employer Costs for Employee Compensation data are collected by BLS field economists contacting establishment respondents. Respondents may provide information through personal visits, phone, email, electronic file transmission, fax, and mail. Field economists have discontinued personal visits and are relying on the other collection methods at this time.

Response rates

Nonresponse may increase because of difficulty reaching survey respondents or selected jobs having no workers for the reference period. See the historical response rates. Response rates were comparable in March 2021 to the December 2020 release.

Table 1. Response rates for usable data eligible for collection
Compensation component Dec 2019 Mar 2020 Jun 2020 Sep 2020 Dec 2020 Mar 2021

Wages and salaries

86.0% 79.5% 80.0% 81.2% 81.3% 82.4%


95.3% 95.9% 95.8% 95.3% 95.6% 96.1%

Measures of reliability

To help users evaluate the reliability of Employer Costs for Employee Compensation estimates, relative standard errors are available for news release tables and supplemental private industry tables (TXT) (PDF).

Changes to methods

There were no changes to estimation methods for the March 2021 release of the Employer Costs for Employee Compensation. Benchmarking by size class was performed using September 2020 Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data. Benchmarking by industry was conducted using March 2021 (third closing) data from the Current Employment Statistics.

Last Modified Date: June 17, 2021