Employers costs for Medicare, workers’ compensation rise from 1966-98
April 28, 1999
Employer costs for employee benefits include "legally-required benefits", those employer obligations that have been enacted in State or Federal law. Such benefits include Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation. In 1998, the share of all compensation that went to these legally-required benefits was 8.2 percent, up from 5.1 percent in 1966.
From 1966-1998, Social Security was the legally-required benefit with the highest cost to employers. The share of total compensation going to Social Security rose from 2.8 percent in 1966 to 4.7 percent in 1998. However, the overall share of legally-required benefit costs represented by Social Security was relatively stable—54.9 percent in 1966, compared to 56.4 percent in 1998.
In recent years, workers’ compensation and Medicare have taken up a greater proportion of employers’ legally-required compensation costs, while the share for unemployment insurance has declined. Unemployment insurance accounted for 21.6 percent of legally-required compensation in 1966, but only 7.9 percent in 1998. In contrast, the portion of legally-required benefits that pays for workers’ compensation rose from 17.6 percent in 1966 to 21.5 percent in 1998, and that for Medicare rose from 5.9 percent to 14.1 percent over the same period.
Data on employer costs for legally-required benefits and other compensation are available from the BLS Employment Cost Trends program. For additional information, see "Tracking Changes in Benefits Costs" (PDF 46K), Compensation and Working Conditions, Spring 1999.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Employers costs for Medicare, workers’ compensation rise from 1966-98 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1999/apr/wk4/art03.htm (visited October 22, 2020).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
- Gulf War Era Veterans in the Labor Force
Examines the demographic, employment, and unemployment characteristics of civilians who served in the U.S. military during Gulf War era.
- Using BLS Data to Match People with Disabilities with Jobs Presents data that can help increase access and opportunity for people with disabilities in the nation’s labor market.
- How Women and Aging Affect Trends in Labor Force Growth Examines how women’s labor force participation and the aging of the U.S. population affect trends in labor force growth.
- Meal Appeal: Patterns of Expenditures on Food away from Home
Examines spending on food away from home, such as meals or snacks from restaurants, vending machines, employer cafeterias, or other venues.