Bureau of Labor Statistics

Wages highest in West, benefits highest in Northeast

July 16, 1999

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.

Wages and salaries and benefits per hour by region, private industry workers, March 1999
[Chart data—TXT]

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 02, 2021).

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