FOR RELEASE 10:00 A.M. (EDT) FRIDAY, JUNE 9, 2017 USDL-17-0770
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EMPLOYER COSTS FOR EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION – MARCH 2017
Employer costs for employee compensation averaged $35.28 per hour worked in March 2017, the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged $24.10 per hour worked and
accounted for 68.3 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $11.18 and accounted for the
remaining 31.7 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged
$33.11 per hour worked. Total employer compensation costs for state and local government workers
averaged $48.24 per hour worked.
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.
Metropolitan area costs in private industry
Total compensation, wages and salaries, and benefit costs in private industry are included in this
release for 15 combined and metropolitan statistical areas (CSAs and MSAs). In March 2017, total
compensation costs for the 15 areas ranged from $28.20 per hour worked in the Miami-Fort
Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL MSA to $53.61 per hour worked in the San Jose-San Francisco- Oakland,
CA CSA. (See chart 2 and table 15.)
Health insurance costs in private industry
The average cost for health insurance benefits was $2.50 per hour worked in private industry (7.6
percent of total compensation) in March 2017. Among occupational groups, employer costs for health
insurance benefits ranged from 90 cents per hour worked and 5.8 percent of total compensation for
service occupations, to $3.94 and 6.7 percent of total compensation for management, professional,
and related occupations. (See table 5.)
Employer costs for health insurance benefits were significantly higher for union workers,
averaging $6.09 per hour worked (12.5 percent of total compensation), than for nonunion workers,
averaging $2.16 (6.8 percent of total compensation). (See table 5.)
In goods-producing industries, health insurance benefit costs were higher, at $3.49 per hour
worked (8.8 percent of total compensation), than in service-providing industries, at $2.30 (7.2
percent). In goods-producing industries, health insurance benefit costs were $3.77 (9.5 percent of
total compensation) for manufacturing and $2.91 (7.5 percent) for construction. In service-
providing industries, health insurance benefit costs ranged from $4.87 (9.0 percent) for
information to 71 cents (5.0 percent) for leisure and hospitality. (See table 6.)
Among the four regions, costs for health insurance benefits were $2.17 per hour worked (7.3
percent of total compensation) in the South, $3.14 (7.6 percent) in the Northeast, $2.51 (8.2
percent) in the Midwest, and $2.49 (7.3 percent) in the West. (See table 7.)
Establishments with fewer than 50 workers averaged $1.65 per hour worked for healthcare benefits
(6.1 percent of total compensation); those with 50-99 workers averaged $2.21 (7.2 percent); those
with 100-499 employees averaged $2.70 (8.3 percent); and those with 500 or more employees averaged
$4.35 (8.9 percent). (See table 8.)
Benefit costs in private industry
Private industry employer costs for paid leave averaged $2.30 per hour worked or 6.9 percent of
total compensation, supplemental pay averaged $1.17 or 3.5 percent, insurance benefits averaged
$2.65 or 8.0 percent, retirement and savings averaged $1.34 or 4.0 percent, and legally required
benefits averaged $2.60 per hour worked or 7.8 percent. (See table A and table 5.)
Table A. Relative importance of employer costs for employee compensation, March 2017
Compensation Civilian Private State and local
component workers(1) industry government
Wages and salaries 68.3% 69.6% 62.9%
Benefits 31.7 30.4 37.1
Paid leave 7.1 6.9 7.5
Supplemental pay 3.0 3.5 1.0
Insurance 8.8 8.0 11.9
Health benefits 8.3 7.6 11.6
Retirement and savings 5.4 4.0 11.2
Defined benefit 3.5 1.8 10.4
Defined contribution 2.0 2.3 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 June 2017 is scheduled to be released on Friday,
September 8, 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
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 www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/sp/ecsuprse.pdf.
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.
For information on health insurance provisions, see National Compensation Survey: Employee
Benefits in the United States, March 2016, at www.bls.gov/ncs/ebs/benefits/2016/benefits.htm and
National Compensation Survey: Health and Retirement Plan Provisions in the United States, 2015, at
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