Employer Costs for Employee Compensation news release text

For RELEASE 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Friday, March 17, 2017											USDL-17-0321	

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 averaged $34.90 per hour worked in December 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. 
Wages and salaries averaged $23.87 per hour worked and accounted for 68.4 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $11.03 and accounted 
for the remaining 31.6 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $32.76 per hour worked in December 2016. 
Total employer compensation costs for state and local government workers averaged $47.85 per hour worked in December 2016. 

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. 

Supplemental pay benefit costs in private industry

Supplemental pay costs for private industry workers in December 2016 averaged $1.15 per hour worked or 3.5 percent of total compensation. 
Supplemental pay includes employer costs for employee overtime and premium pay, shift differentials, and nonproduction bonuses. 

In December 2016, the largest component of supplemental pay costs for private industry employers were nonproduction bonuses, averaging 83 cents per 
hour worked or 2.5 percent of total compensation. (See table 5.) Nonproduction bonuses are given at the discretion of the employer and are not tied 
to a production formula. Common nonproduction bonuses include end-of-year and holiday bonuses, referral bonuses, and cash profit sharing. For more 
information on nonproduction bonus access rates, please see National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in the United States, March 2016 at 

Overtime and premium pay averaged 26 cents per hour worked in December 2016. Overtime and premium supplemental pay includes pay for work in addition 
to the regular work schedule. Shift differentials, or extra payments for working a non-traditional work schedule, averaged only 6 cents per hour 
worked. (See table 5.)

Supplemental pay averaged $1.40 per hour worked for union workers and $1.12 for nonunion workers.  For union workers, the largest supplemental pay 
component was overtime and premium pay at 78 cents per hour worked. For nonunion workers, nonproduction bonuses was the largest component at 87 
cents per hour worked. (See table 5.)  

Supplemental pay varied widely by major occupational and industry groups. For major occupational groups, supplemental pay ranged from $2.53 per hour 
worked for management, professional, and related workers to 24 cents for service workers. (See chart 1 and table 5.) Major industry groups also 
showed wide variation for supplemental pay, averaging $3.43 for financial activities workers and 13 cents for leisure and hospitality workers. (See 
chart 2 and table 6.)  

Supplemental pay by establishment employment size ranged from 99 cents per hour worked for under 100 workers compared with $1.92 for 500 workers or 
more. (See table 8.) Supplemental pay costs averaged $1.50 per hour worked for full-time workers and 20 cents for part-time workers. (See table 11.)  

Benefit costs in private industry
Private industry employer costs for paid leave averaged $2.28 per hour worked or 6.9 percent of total compensation, supplemental pay averaged $1.15 
or 3.5 percent, insurance benefits averaged $2.63 or 8.0 percent, retirement and savings averaged $1.31 or 4.0 percent, and legally required benefits 
averaged $2.56 per hour worked or 7.8 percent. (See table A and table 5.)

Table A.  Relative importance of employer costs for employee compensation, December 2016

Compensation                            Civilian       Private      State and local
  component                             workers(1)     industry       government
Wages and salaries                       68.4%          69.7%            63.0%
Benefits                                 31.6           30.3             37.0
   Paid leave                             7.1            6.9              7.5
   Supplemental pay                       3.0            3.5              1.0
   Insurance                              8.8            8.0             11.8
     Health benefits                      8.3            7.6             11.5
   Retirement and savings                 5.4            4.0             11.1
     Defined benefit                      3.4            1.8             10.3
     Defined contribution                 2.0            2.2              0.8
   Legally required                       7.4            7.8              5.6
   1 Includes workers in the private nonfarm economy, except those in private households, and 
     workers in the public sector, except the federal government.

Employer Costs for Employee Compensation for March 2017 is scheduled to be released on Friday, June 9, 2017, 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 in 
the March reference period for 15 metropolitan areas. 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 by industry group are available at 
www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/sp/ecsuptc41.pdf and www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/sp/ecsuphst.pdf.

Relative standard errors for all cost estimates in the most recent news release are available at www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/sp/ececrse.pdf and 

Historical ECEC data are available in three listings, all available at www.bls.gov/ect/#tables. The earliest 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. A 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 most recent listing includes data from 
March 2004 to the current reference period. These are based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and Standard Occupational 
Classification (SOC) systems. 

The Consolidated Statistical Areas (CSAs) and Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 2003 
area definitions.  For more information on the area definitions, visit www.census.gov/population/metro/data/pastmetro.html.

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 www.bls.gov/bls/list.htm.

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Last Modified Date: March 17, 2017