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News Release Information

Monday, May 13, 2019

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Changing Compensation Costs in the Chicago Metropolitan Area — March 2019

Total compensation costs for private industry workers increased 2.6 percent in the Chicago-Naperville, IL-IN-WI, metropolitan area for the year ended March 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Charlene Peiffer noted that a year earlier, Chicago experienced a gain of 2.9 percent in total compensation costs. Locally, wages and salaries, the largest component of total compensation costs, rose 2.7 percent over the 12-month period ended March 2019. Nationwide, total compensation costs and wages and salaries increased 2.8 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively, over the same period. (See chart 1 and table 1.)

  Chart 1. Twelve-month percent changes in the Employment Cost Index, private industry workers, United States and the Chicago area, not seasonally adjusted, March 2017-March 2019

Chicago is 1 of 15 metropolitan areas in the United States, and 1 of 3 areas in the Midwest region of the country, for which locality compensation cost data are now available. Among these 15 largest areas, over-the-year percentage changes in total compensation costs ranged from 3.9 percent in New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA, to -0.2 percent in Seattle-Tacoma, WA, in March 2019. For wages and salaries, Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA, registered the largest annual gain (4.5 percent) among the 15 areas, while wages in Houston-The Woodlands, TX, registered the smallest annual gain (1.4 percent). (See chart 2.)

  Chart 2. Twelve-month percent change in the Employment Cost Index. private industry workers, United States and localities, not seasonally adjusted, March 2019

Chicago’s annual increase in total compensation costs in March 2019, at 2.6 percent, compared to gains of 2.7 and 1.9 percent, respectively, in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI, and Detroit-Warren-Ann Arbor, MI, the two other metropolitan areas in the Midwest. Chicago’s 2.7-percent increase in wages and salaries over this 12-month period compared to advances of 2.2 percent in Minneapolis and 1.8 percent in Detroit. (See table 2.)

Locality compensation costs are part of the national Employment Cost Index (ECI), which measures quarterly changes in compensation costs, which include wages, salaries and employer costs for employee benefits. In addition to the 15 locality estimates provided in this release, ECI data for the nation, 4 geographical regions, and 9 geographical divisions are available. (Geographical definitions for the metropolitan areas mentioned in this release are included in the Technical Note.)

In addition to the geographic data, a comprehensive national report is available that provides data by industry, occupational group, and union status, as well as for both private and state and local government employees. The release is available on the Internet at Current and historical information from other Bureau programs may be accessed via our regional homepage at

The Employment Cost Index for June 2019 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.

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. The compensation series includes changes in wages and salaries and employer costs for employee benefits.

Wages and salaries are defined as straight-time average hourly earnings 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, excluding premium pay for overtime, work on weekends and holidays, and shift differentials. Production bonuses, incentive earnings, commission payments, and cost-of-living adjustments are included in straight-time earnings, whereas nonproduction bonuses (such as Christmas or year-end bonuses) are excluded. Also excluded are such items as payments-in-kind, free room and board, and tips.

Based on available resources and the existing ECI sample, it was determined that estimates would be published for 15 metropolitan areas. Since the ECI sample sizes by area are directly related to area employment, the areas with the largest private industry employment as of the year 2000 were selected. For each of these areas, 12-month percent changes and associated standard errors were computed for the periods since December 2006.

The metropolitan area definitions of the 15 published localities are listed below.

  • Atlanta-Athens-Clarke County-Sandy Springs, GA Combined Statistical Area (CSA) includes Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Jasper, Lamar, Madison, Meriwether, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Paulding, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Upson, and Walton Counties in Georgia.
  • Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT CSA includes Barnstable, Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester Counties in Massachusetts; Bristol, Kent, Newport, Providence, and Washington in Rhode Island; Belknap, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Strafford Counties in New Hampshire; and Windham County in Connecticut.
  • Chicago-Naperville, IL-IN-WI CSA includes Bureau, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, La Salle, McHenry, Putnam and Will Counties in Illinois; Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton, and Porter Counties in Indiana; and Kenosha County in Wisconsin.
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, TX-OK CSA includes Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Grayson, Henderson, Hood, Hopkins, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, Palo Pinto, Parker, Rockwall, Somervell, Tarrant, and Wise Counties in Texas; and Bryan County in Oklahoma.
  • Detroit-Warren-Ann Arbor, MI CSA includes Genesee, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne Counties in Michigan.
  • Houston-The Woodlands, TX CSA includes Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Trinity, Walker, Waller, Washington and Wharton Counties in Texas.
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA CSA includes Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties in California.
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie, FL CSA includes Broward, Indian River, Martin, Miami-Dade, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie Counties in Florida.
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI CSA includes Anoka, Benton, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Goodhue, Hennepin, Isanti, Le Sueur, McLeod, Mille Lacs, Ramsey, Rice, Scott, Sherburne, Sibley, Stearns, Washington, and Wright Counties in Minnesota; and Pierce and St. Croix Counties in Wisconsin.
  • New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA CSA includes Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Ulster, and Westchester Counties in New York; Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren Counties in New Jersey; Fairfield, Litchfield, and New Haven Counties in Connecticut; and Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, and Pike Counties in Pennsylvania.
  • Philadelphia-Reading-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD CSA includes Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania; Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties in New Jersey; Kent and New Castle Counties in Delaware; and Cecil County in Maryland.
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Maricopa and Pinal Counties in Arizona.
  • San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA CSA includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma Counties in California.
  • Seattle-Tacoma, WA CSA includes Island, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, and Thurston Counties in Washington.
  • Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA CSA includes the District of Columbia; Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Carroll, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's, Queen Anne's, St. Mary's, Talbot, and Washington Counties in Maryland; Franklin County in Pennsylvania; Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, and Winchester Cities and Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun, Prince William, Rappahannock, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Warren Counties in Virginia; and Berkeley, Hampshire, and Jefferson Counties in West Virginia.

Definitions of the four geographic regions of the country are noted below.

  • Northeast: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
  • South: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
  • West: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

Table 1. Employment Cost Index for total compensation and for wages and salaries, private industry workers, United States, Midwest region, and the Chicago area, not seasonally adjusted
Area Total compensation Wages and salaries
12-month percent changes for period ended- 12-month percent changes for period ended-
March June Sep. Dec. March June Sep. Dec.

United States


2.8 1.9 1.9 1.9 2.8 2.2 2.1 2.1


1.8 2.4 2.3 2.2 2.0 2.6 2.4 2.3


2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.6 2.4 2.6 2.8


2.8 2.9 2.9 3.0 2.9 2.9 3.1 3.1


2.8 3.0



2.4 1.6 1.7 1.8 2.0 1.9 2.1 2.3


1.8 2.6 2.6 2.6 2.3 2.7 2.8 2.9


2.8 2.3 2.2 2.2 3.2 2.4 2.2 2.2


2.4 2.5 2.8 3.0 2.4 2.5 3.1 3.3


2.9 3.2



3.3 1.1 1.1 0.9 2.4 1.8 1.8 1.9


1.3 1.9 2.4 2.9 2.0 2.0 2.6 3.0


2.5 2.8 2.4 2.4 2.7 2.8 2.3 2.6


2.9 3.1 3.5 3.2 2.9 3.1 3.5 3.0


2.6 2.7
Table 2. Employment Cost Index for total compensation and for wages and salaries, private industry workers, United States, geographical regions, and localities, not seasonally adjusted
Area Total compensation Wages and salaries
12-month percent changes for period ended- 12-month percent changes for period ended-
Mar. 2018 Dec. 2018 Mar. 2019 Mar. 2018 Dec. 2018 Mar. 2019

United States

2.8 3.0 2.8 2.9 3.1 3.0


2.7 3.4 3.3 2.9 3.3 3.1


2.0 2.3 2.5 1.7 2.0 2.4

New York-Newark

2.8 3.7 3.9 3.1 3.6 3.5


2.7 1.9 1.9 2.7 2.0 1.9


2.6 2.6 2.2 2.8 2.7 2.4

Atlanta-Athens-Clarke County-Sandy Springs

1.1 2.0 2.3 1.7 2.2 2.5

Dallas-Fort Worth

2.2 2.3 2.8 2.2 2.0 2.9

Houston-The Woodlands

2.1 1.8 1.4 2.3 1.9 1.4

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie

2.4 2.9 2.5 2.7 3.1 2.9


2.5 2.6 2.6 2.8 2.6 2.4


2.4 3.0 2.9 2.4 3.3 3.2


2.9 3.2 2.6 2.9 3.0 2.7

Detroit-Warren-Ann Arbor

2.6 2.6 1.9 2.8 2.7 1.8

Minneapolis-St. Paul

3.5 5.0 2.7 3.9 5.2 2.2


3.6 3.2 2.9 3.7 3.7 3.5

Los Angeles-Long Beach

3.2 3.0 3.5 3.1 3.7 4.5


3.6 3.8 3.1 4.0 4.1 3.1

San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland

4.4 3.6 3.0 4.9 3.8 3.3


7.2 0.6 -0.2 3.6 3.7 2.9


Last Modified Date: Monday, May 13, 2019