February 27, 2004
In December 2003, employer costs for employee compensation averaged $22.92 per hour worked in private industry.
Wages and salaries averaged $16.49 per hour, while benefits averaged $6.43.
Legally required benefits, such as Social Security and unemployment insurance, were $1.96 per hour on average, representing the largest non-wage cost. Employer costs for insurance benefits averaged $1.62 per hour, paid leave benefits $1.48 per hour, retirement and savings benefits 70 cents per hour, and supplemental pay 64 cents per hour.
These data come from the Compensation Cost Trends program. For additional information, see "Employer Costs for Employee Compensation - December 2003" (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 04-288. Wages and salaries are defined as the hourly straight-time wage rate or, for workers not paid on an hourly basis, straight-time earnings divided by the corresponding hours. Straight-time wage and salary rates are total earnings before payroll deductions and include production bonuses, incentive earnings, commission payments, and cost-of-living adjustments.