Technical Note


Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC) measures the average cost to employers for wages and salaries and benefits per employee hour worked.

ECEC includes the civilian economy, which includes data from both private industry and state and local government. Excluded from private industry 
are the self-employed and farm and private household workers. Federal government workers are excluded from the public sector. The private industry 
series and the state and local government series provide data for the two sectors separately.

Sample size

Data for the December 2016 reference period were collected from a probability sample of approximately 28,100 occupational observations selected from 
a sample of about 6,800 private industry establishments and approximately 8,000 occupational observations selected from a sample of about 1,400 
state and local government establishments that provided data at the initial interview. This quarter, the state and local government sample was 
replaced in its entirety. It was last replaced in December 2007. The government sample is replaced less frequently than the private industry sample. 
One-third of the private sample is rotated each year except in years when the government sample is replaced. 

ECEC benchmarking by establishment size and industry

The benchmarking methodology was enhanced to include establishment size, in addition to industry, to adjust the ECEC sample weights to current 
employment. For additional information on benchmarking by industry, see the BLS research paper: “The Weighting Process Used in the Employer Costs 
for Employee Compensation Series for the National Compensation Survey,” at

Comparing private and public sector data

Compensation cost levels in state and local government should not be directly compared with levels in 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. Professional and administrative support occupations (including 
teachers) account for two-thirds of the state and local government workforce, compared with one-half of private industry.

ECEC quarterly publication focus

ECEC news releases are published quarterly, providing civilian, private industry, and state and local government cost per hour estimates as well as 
additional detail on a specific compensation cost topic of interest. This quarter focuses on supplemental pay benefit costs in private industry. 
Topics of news releases for the upcoming reference periods are as follows:
	* March 2017—Compensation costs in selected metropolitan areas and health benefit costs in private industry
	* June  2017—Retirement and savings costs in private industry

ECEC detailed information and measures

For detailed information on Employer Costs for Employee Compensation, see Chapter 8,”National Compensation Measures,” of the BLS Handbook of Methods 

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Last Modified Date: March 17, 2017