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Economic News Release
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Employee Benefits in the United States Technical Note

                                              TECHNICAL NOTE

Estimates in this release are from the National Compensation Survey (NCS), conducted by the U.S. Department of
Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The NCS provides comprehensive measures of compensation cost levels and
trends and also provides benefits incidence estimates on the percentage of workers with access to and
participating in employer-provided benefit plans.

Employee Benefits data: The Employee Benefits in the United States, March 2023 includes additional details on 
the coverage, costs, and provisions of employer-sponsored benefits, and will be published shortly after this 
news release. See for the latest benefits publications. 
Historical estimates are also accessible in Excel format at and through the database 
query tool at  

Standard errors: Measures of reliability are available for published estimates, which provide users a measure of 
the precision of an estimate to ensure that it is within an acceptable range for their intended purpose. For 
further information see

Comparing private and public sector data: Incidence of employee benefits in state and local government should not
be directly compared to 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.

Civilian workers: Statistics for private industry and state and local government are published separately and 
then combined to measure the civilian economy. Excluded from the civilian economy are workers employed in 
federal government and quasi-federal agencies, military personnel, agricultural workers, volunteers, unpaid 
workers, individuals receiving long-term disability compensation, and those working overseas. In addition, 
private industry excludes workers in private households, the self-employed, workers who set their own pay (e.g., 
proprietors, owners, major stockholders, and partners in unincorporated firms), and family members paid token 

Leave benefits for teachers: Primary, secondary, and special education teachers typically have a contracted work 
schedule of 37 or 38 weeks per year. Because of this work schedule, they are generally not offered vacations or 
holidays. In many cases, the time off during winter and spring breaks during the school year are not considered 
vacation days for the purposes of this survey.

Medical care premiums: The estimates for medical care premiums are not based on actual decisions regarding medical
coverage made by employees; instead, it is assumed that all employees in the occupation can opt for single or 
family coverage. Monthly premiums are collected when possible. Annual premiums are converted to monthly premiums 
by dividing by 12 months.

Sample rotation: One-third of the private industry sample had been rotated each year except in years when the 
government sample was replaced. Beginning with the March 2022 publication, however, an additional (fourth) private 
industry sample is used in estimation to mitigate the impact of decreasing response rates. The government sample is 
replaced less frequently than the private industry sample. The state and local government sample was replaced in its 
entirety for the March 2017 reference period.

Classification system: The National Compensation Survey publishes estimates of compensation costs
and trends as well as benefit coverage by ownership, industry group, occupational group, and geographic areas, see

Sample size:
Appendix table 1. Survey establishment response(1), March 2023
Establishments Civilian Private industry State and local governments

Total in sampling frame(2)

7,161,550 6,930,620 230,930

Total in sample

14,720 13,120 1,600


8,420 6,990 1,430


5,260 5,120 140

Out of business or not in survey scope

1,040 1,010 30

(1) The number of establishments are rounded to the nearest 10. Because of rounding, sums of individual items may not equal totals.
(2) The sampling frame was developed from state unemployment insurance reports and is based on the 2017 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). With some minor exceptions, an establishment is a single economic unit that engages in one, or predominantly one, type of economic activity. For private industry, the establishment is usually at a single physical location such as a mine, factory, office, or store; if a sampled establishment is owned by a larger entity with many locations, only the employment and characteristics of the establishment selected for the sample are considered for the survey. For state and local governments, an establishment can include more than one physical location, such as a school district or a police department.
(3) Establishments that provided data at the initial interview.
(4) Establishments that did not provide data at the initial interview. For information on nonresponse adjustment and imputation, see the Handbook of Methods: National Compensation Measures available at

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Compensation Survey.

Survey scope:
Appendix table 2. Number of workers represented(1), March 2023
Occupational group(2) Civilian workers Private industry workers State and local government workers

All workers

145,300,100 126,227,200 19,072,900

Management, professional, and related

46,834,300 35,920,600 10,913,700

Management, business, and financial

14,624,400 13,126,900 -

Professional and related

32,209,900 22,793,700 9,416,200


7,014,300 - 5,112,800

Primary, secondary, and special education school teachers

5,035,900 - 3,988,300

Registered nurses

3,077,300 - -


32,036,200 28,053,300 3,982,900

Protective service

3,565,300 1,621,500 1,943,800

Sales and office

31,030,400 28,453,800 2,576,600

Sales and related

13,076,400 12,996,900 -

Office and administrative support

17,954,000 15,456,900 2,497,000

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance

11,591,700 10,777,800 813,900

Construction, extraction, farming, fishing, and forestry

6,090,400 5,643,000 -

Installation, maintenance, and repair

5,501,200 5,134,900 -

Production, transportation, and material moving

23,807,500 23,021,700 785,800


9,087,500 8,965,000 -

Transportation and material moving

14,720,000 14,056,700 -

(1) The numbers of workers represented by the survey are rounded to the nearest 100. For information on weighting, see the Handbook of Methods: National Compensation Measures available at
(2) The 2018 Standard Occupational Classification system was used to classify workers.

Note: Because of rounding, sums of individual items may not equal totals. Dashes indicate that no estimates for this characteristic are provided in this publication.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Compensation Survey.

Average hourly wage percentiles: Estimates by worker average wage are grouped into six wage categories- the lowest
10 percent, the lowest 25 percent, the second 25 percent, the third 25 percent, the highest 25 percent, and the
highest 10 percent. The categories use percentile values based on unpublished March 2023 wages and salaries from
the BLS Employer Costs for Employee Compensation publication at

The percentiles are computed using hourly wages and salaries along with scheduled hours of work reported for 
individual workers in sampled establishments. Establishments in the survey are asked to report only individual 
worker wages and salaries for each sampled job. For the calculation of the percentile values, the individual
worker hourly wages and salaries are weighted and arrayed from lowest to highest. The values corresponding to the
percentiles are:

Ownership Average hourly wage percentiles
10th 25th 50th 75th 90th


$14.00 $17.12 $23.55 $37.02 $56.06

Private industry

$14.00 $17.00 $22.57 $35.64 $55.29

State and local government

$16.50 $21.50 $31.68 $44.10 $59.80
The lowest 10- and 25-percent wage categories include those occupations with an average hourly rate less than the
10th percentile value and 25th percentile value, respectively. The second 25-percent category includes those 
occupations with rates at or above the 25th percentile value but less than the 50th percentile value. The third
25-percent category includes those occupations with rates at or above the 50th percentile value but less than the
75th percentile value. Finally, the highest 25- and 10-percent wage categories include those occupations with an
average hourly wage greater than or equal to the 75th percentile value and 90th percentile value, respectively.

Individual workers can fall into a wage category different from the average for the occupation into which they are
classified because average hourly wages for the occupation are used to produce the benefit estimates.

Obtaining information: For articles on employee benefits, see the Monthly Labor Review benefits section at and Beyond the Numbers: Pay and Benefits at The Economics Daily articles archive is available at For technical information, see "National Compensation 
Measures," in the BLS Handbook of Methods at

Benefit publications from 1980 to the present are also available at The latest glossary of benefit terms is available at In addition,
the public databases may also be used to obtain data from 1985 to 2006 and 2010 to the present, see

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications
relay services.

Last Modified Date: September 21, 2023