Apr 27, 201208:09 AMBlog

Employment Cost Index up nearly half a point during Q1

Apr 27, 2012 - 08:09 AM

Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.4 percent, seasonally adjusted, for the three-month period ending March 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries (which make up about 70 percent of compensation costs) increased 0.5 percent and benefits (which make up the remaining 30 percent of compensation) also increased 0.5 percent.

Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 1.9 percent for the 12-month period ending March 2012, essentially unchanged from the 2 percent increase a year earlier in March 2011. Wages and salaries increased 1.7 percent for the current 12-month period. In March 2011 the increase was 1.6 percent. Benefit costs increased 2.7 percent for the 12-month period ending March 2012. In March 2011, the increase was 3.0 percent.

Compensation costs for private industry workers increased 2.1 percent over the year, essentially unchanged from the 2 percent increase for the previous 12-month period. Wages and salaries increased 1.9 percent for the current 12-month period.  The increase for the 12-month period ending March 2011 was 1.6 percent. The increase in the cost of benefits was 2.8 percent for the 12-month period ending March 2012. The March 2011 increase was 3.0 percent. Employer costs for health benefits increased 3.0 percent for the 12-month period ending March 2012. In March 2011 the increase was 3.4 percent.

Among occupational groups, compensation cost increases for private industry workers for the 12-month period ending March 2012 ranged from 1.3 percent for service occupations to 2.6 percent for sales and office occupations.

Among industry supersectors, compensation cost increases for private industry workers for the current 12-month period ranged from 1.0 percent for leisure and hospitality to 3.2 percent for information.

Compensation costs for state and local government workers increased 1.5 percent for the 12-month period ending March 2012. In March 2011, the increase for the 12-month period was 1.8 percent. Values for this series—which began in June 1982—have ranged from 1.3 percent to 9.6 percent. Wages and salaries increased 1 percent for the 12-month period ending March 2012. A year earlier the increase was 1.2 percent. Prior values for this series, which also began in June 1982, ranged from 1.0 percent to 8.5 percent. Benefit costs increased 2.3 percent in March 2012, down from the March 2011 increase of 3.3 percent. Prior values for this series, which began in June 1990, ranged from 1.2 percent to 8.3 percent.

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