Employer Costs for Employee Compensation news release text

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, March 19, 2019				     USDL-19-0449

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  DECEMBER 2018

Employer costs for employee compensation averaged $36.32 per hour worked in December 2018, the 
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged $24.91 per hour 
worked and accounted for 68.6 percent of these costs, while benefit costs averaged $11.41 and 
accounted for the remaining 31.4 percent. (See tables A and 1.)

Total employer compensation costs for state and local government workers averaged $50.55 per hour 
worked in December 2018. Wages and salaries averaged $31.59 per hour worked and accounted for 62.5 
percent of these costs, while benefit costs averaged $18.96 and accounted for the remaining 37.5 
percent. For benefit costs by category, insurance and retirement and savings costs both averaged 
$5.95 per hour worked or 11.8 percent of total compensation, and paid leave costs averaged $3.79 
per hour worked for 7.5 percent of total compensation. (See tables A and 3.) 

Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $34.05 per hour worked in 
December 2018. Wages and salaries averaged $23.85 per hour worked and accounted for 70.0 percent of 
these costs, while benefit costs averaged $10.20 and accounted for 30.0 percent. For benefit costs 
by category, insurance benefits costs averaged $2.71 or 8.0 percent and legally required benefits 
costs averaged $2.64 per hour worked or 7.7 percent. (See tables A and 5.)

Highlights of supplemental pay costs in private industry:
Supplemental pay includes employer costs for employee nonproduction bonuses, overtime and premium 
pay, and shift differentials. Nonproduction bonuses such as holiday bonuses and cash profit sharing 
are given at the discretion of the employer and are not tied to a production formula. Overtime and 
premium pay includes pay for work in addition to the regular work schedule. Shift differentials are 
extra payments for working a non-traditional work schedule.  

  Supplemental pay costs for private industry workers averaged $1.09 per hour worked or 3.2 percent 
of total compensation. (See table 5.)
  Supplemental pay costs by major occupational group ranged from 35 cents per hour worked for service 
workers to $2.05 per hour worked for management, professional, and related workers. (See table 5.)
  Costs for supplemental pay by bargaining status averaged $1.05 for nonunion workers and $1.56 for 
union workers. (See table 5.)
  Costs for supplemental pay by census region averaged $1.04 in the West, $1.05 in the South, $1.07 
in the Midwest, and $1.28 in the Northeast. (See table 7.)
  Supplemental pay costs by establishment employment size ranged from 68 cents for establishments with
1 to 99 workers to $1.59 for 100 workers or more. (See table 8.)
  Supplemental pay costs for part-time workers were 30 cents and $1.36 for full-time workers. 
(See table 11.)  
  Private industry employers spent an average of 8 cents per hour worked or 0.2 percent of total 
compensation on shift differentials and 29 cents per hour worked or 0.9 percent of total compensation 
on overtime and premium pay. (See table 5.)
  Private industry employers spent an average of 72 cents per hour worked or 2.1 percent of total 
compensation on nonproduction bonuses. Costs for nonproduction bonuses by major industry group ranged 
from 11 cents for leisure and hospitality to $2.32 for information industry workers. (See tables 5 and 6.)  

Table A.  Relative importance of employer costs for employee compensation, December 2018

Compensation                            Civilian       Private      State and local
  component                             workers(1)     industry       government
____________________________________________________________________________________________
Wages and salaries                       68.6%          70.0%            62.5%
Benefits                                 31.4           30.0             37.5
   Paid leave                             7.2            7.2              7.5
   Supplemental pay                       2.8            3.2              1.0
   Insurance                              8.7            8.0             11.8
     Health benefits                      8.3            7.5             11.5
   Retirement and savings                 5.4            3.9             11.8
     Defined benefit                      3.4            1.6             10.9
     Defined contribution                 2.0            2.3              0.8
   Legally required                       7.3            7.7              5.5
____________________________________________________________________________________________
   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 2019 is scheduled to be released on 
Tuesday, June 18, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT). 


                        Compensation Costs and Metropolitan Area Definition Updates

The news release and associated tables will be modified beginning with the March 2019 release to incorporate 
compensation costs by wage percentile and highlight data characteristics. Additional information on these 
upcoming changes will be available at www.bls.gov/ect.

Metropolitan area definitions will be updated with the March 2019 release based on Office of Management and 
Budget, Bulletin No. 13-01 dated February 28, 2013. For more information on metropolitan area definitions, 
see www.census.gov/programs-surveys/metro-micro.html.

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Last Modified Date: March 19, 2019