Employer Costs for Employee Compensation news release text

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, June 18, 2019				USDL-19-1002

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		       EMPLOYER COSTS FOR EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION  MARCH 2019

Employer costs for employee compensation for civilian workers averaged $36.77 per hour worked in March 
2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries cost employers $25.22 while 
benefit costs were $11.55. Total compensation costs for civilian workers were $12.71 at the 10th wage 
percentile, $27.87 at the 50th (median) wage percentile, and $72.62 at the 90th wage percentile. 
(See tables A and 1.) 

State and local government worker compensation costs for employers averaged $50.89 per hour worked in 
March 2019. Wages and salaries averaged $31.75 and accounted for 62.4 percent of employer costs, while 
benefit costs averaged $19.14 and accounted for 37.6 percent. Total compensation costs at the 50th (median) 
wage percentile were $47.99. (See tables A and 1.)

Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $34.49 per hour worked ($25.21 
at the 50th or median wage percentile). Wages and salaries averaged $24.17 per hour worked and accounted 
for 70.1 percent of employer costs. Benefit costs averaged $10.33 per hour worked and accounted for the 
remaining 29.9 percent. Median employer costs per employee hour worked were $17.64 for wages and salaries 
and $7.57 for benefits. (See table 1.) 

Total compensation costs for private industry workers ranged from $12.37 at the 10th wage percentile to 
$68.60 at the 90th wage percentile. Wages and salaries were $10.06 at the 10th wage percentile and $46.64 at 
the 90th wage percentile. Total benefits ranged from $2.31 at the 10th wage percentile to $21.96 at the 90th 
wage percentile. (See table A.)

				News Release Tables and Wage Percentiles
				
Changes in the content and format of news release tables were made to highlight data characteristics and 
incorporate compensation costs by wage percentile. Details can be found at 
www.bls.gov/ect/updated-ecec-tables-crosswalk-march-2019.htm. For more information on average compensation 
costs within specified wage percentiles, see www.bls.gov/ect/compensation-percentile-estimates.htm.

Table A. Employer Costs for Employee Compensation by wage percentiles [Mar. 2019]
Compensation component Civilian workers(1) Private industry
workers
State and local
government workers
10th wage
percentile
50th (median)
wage percentile
90th wage
percentile
10th wage
percentile
50th (median)
wage percentile
90th wage
percentile
10th wage
percentile
50th (median)
wage percentile
90th wage
percentile

Total compensation(2)

12.71 27.87 72.62 12.37 25.21 68.60 21.49 47.99 85.41

Wages and salaries

10.28 18.73 48.42 10.06 17.64 46.64 13.32 28.42 54.84

Total benefits

2.43 9.14 24.20 2.31 7.57 21.96 8.17 19.57 30.57

Paid leave

0.30 1.76 5.88 0.28 1.44 5.72 1.31 4.27 5.75

Supplemental pay

0.17 0.84 1.95 0.17 0.81 2.34 0.17 0.68 0.76

Insurance

0.59 3.18 6.14 0.55 2.56 5.22 3.62 6.23 8.42

Health insurance

0.57 3.06 5.80 0.54 2.45 4.85 3.57 6.07 8.20

Retirement and savings

0.11 1.11 5.49 0.06 0.60 3.81 1.56 5.55 11.36

Legally required benefits

1.27 2.27 4.75 1.25 2.16 4.87 1.52 2.85 4.28

Footnotes
(1) Includes workers in the private nonfarm economy except those in private households, and workers in the public sector, except the federal government.
(2) Includes costs for wages and salaries and benefits.


Private industry employer costs for paid leave averaged $2.48 per hour worked or 7.2 percent of total 
compensation; supplemental pay averaged $1.10 or 3.2 percent, insurance benefits averaged $2.75 or 8.0 percent, 
retirement and savings averaged $1.33 or 3.9 percent, and legally required benefits averaged $2.66 per hour 
worked or 7.7 percent. (See table 1.)  

The average cost for private industry health insurance benefits was $2.60 per hour worked (7.5 percent of 
total compensation) in March 2019. Health insurance costs were 54 cents at the 10th wage percentile, $2.45 
at the 50th (median) wage percentile, and $4.85 at the 90th wage percentile. (See tables A and 1.)

Metropolitan area private industry compensation costs are published each March reference period for the 
15 largest Consolidated Statistical Areas (CSA) and Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). Total compensation 
costs in March 2019 for private industry workers ranged from $28.48 per hour worked in the 
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie, FL CSA to $53.65 per hour worked in the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, 
CA CSA. As a percent of total compensation, wages and salaries accounted for 71.3 percent ($20.31) in the 
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie, FL CSA and 69.8 percent ($37.46) in the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, 
CA CSA. (See table 8.)

						Area Definitions
Metropolitan area definitions have been updated based on Office of Management and Budget Bulletin No. 13-01, 
dated February 28, 2013. For more information see www.census.gov/programs-surveys/metro-micro.html.

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Last Modified Date: June 18, 2019