In March 1999, workers in private industry in the West received the highest wages and salaries per hour of any region. Wages and salaries averaged $15.36 per hour in the West, compared to $15.08 in the Northeast, $13.21 in the Midwest, and $12.55 in the South.
However, the average cost of benefits was the highest in the Northeast. Workers in the private sector in the Northeast were paid $5.86 per hour on average in benefits in March 1999, which was $0.48 more per hour than the amount received by workers in the West. Benefits per hour in the Northeast were $0.71 more per hour than the average in the Midwest and $1.44 more per hour than in the South.
Total hourly compensation was actually highest in the Northeast, at $20.94 per hour, in March 1999, even though wages and salaries per hour were greater in the West. The larger benefits in the Northeastern region boosted total compensation to $0.20 per hour above the average in the Western region. Compensation differences were much larger between the Northeast and the other two regions—Northeastern workers received $2.58 more per hour in compensation than those in the Midwest and $3.97 more per hour than those in the South.
These data are a product of the BLS Employment Cost Trends program. Additional information is available from "Employer Costs for Employee Compensation, March 1999," news release USDL 99-173.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Wages highest in West, benefits highest in Northeast at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1999/jul/wk2/art05.htm (visited December 09, 2022).