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Economic News Release
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Employment Cost Index Technical Note


The Employment Cost Index (ECI) measures the change in the cost of labor, free from the influence of 
employment shifts among occupations and industries. For information on survey concepts, coverage, methods, 
nonresponse adjustment, and imputation see National Compensation Measures Handbook of Methods at

Sample size

Data for this reference period were collected from a probability sample of approximately 25,500 
occupational observations selected from a sample of about 6,300 private industry establishments and 
approximately 7,800 occupational observations selected from a sample of about 1,400 state and local 
government establishments that provided data at the initial interview.

Standard errors

To assist users in ascertaining the reliability of ECI series, standard errors of all current quarter 
not seasonally adjusted 3- and 12-month percent change series are also available; see and the public data query tools at 
Standard errors provide users a measure of the precision of an estimate to ensure that it is within an 
acceptable range for their intended purpose. 

Historical listings

Historical listings are available at The continuous occupational and industry 
series listing uses the Standard Industrial Classification Manual and Occupational Classification System 
series from 1975 through 2005 and the North American Industry Classification System and Standard 
Occupational Classification from 2006 to the present. It provides the official series deemed continuous 
after the change in classification systems. For more information on the criteria used in defining continuous 
series, see the article published in the Monthly Labor Review at

Employer Costs for Employee Compensation data

The costs per hour worked of compensation components are published as part of the Employer Costs for 
Employee Compensation news release (ECEC). The ECEC release dates are available at Historical ECEC data are available in summary documents at Since the ECEC is calculated with current employment weights rather than the 
fixed weights used in computing the ECI, year-to-year changes in the cost levels usually differ from those 
in the ECI.

Fixed employment weights

For additional information on the use of fixed employment weights in computing the ECI, see

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Last Modified Date: January 31, 2020