BLS Releases Comp Cost Data for June

Private industry employers spent an average of $28.13 per hour worked for employee compensation in June 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wages and salaries averaged $19.81 per hour worked and accounted for 70.4% of these costs, while benefits averaged $8.32 and accounted for the remaining 29.6%. Total compensation costs for state and local government workers averaged $40.40 per hour worked in June 2011. Total compensation costs for civilian workers, which include private industry and state local government workers, averaged $29.98 per hour worked in June 2011. 

The average costs in private industry for retirement savings benefits were $1.03 per hour worked, or 3.7% of total compensation. Costs varied by occupational group. Private industry retirement and savings benefit costs for management, professional, and related occupations were $2.08 per hour, or 4.1% of total compensation in June 2011. Costs were lowest among service occupations, 22 cents or 1.6% of total compensation. Included in this amount were employer costs for defined benefit and defined contribution plans.  

In June, the average cost per hour worked for defined benefit plans was 46 cents (1.6% of total compensation). The average cost for defined contribution plans was 57 cents (2% of total compensation).  

Retirement and savings costs were higher, both in amount and as a proportion of total compensation, for union workers ($2.92 and 7.7% of total compensation) than for nonunion workers (83 cents and 3.1% of total compensation). Defined benefit plan costs were significantly higher for union workers ($2.22 and 5.8% of compensation) than for nonunion workers (28 cents and 1% of compensation). Defined contribution costs for union workers were higher (71 cents) compared to nonunion workers (55 cents), but the proportion of total compensation was similar. 

Retirement and savings costs were higher per hour worked in goods-producing industries ($1.70 and 5.1% of total compensation) than in service-providing industries (89 cents and 3.3% of total compensation). Within goods-producing industries, retirement and savings costs averaged $1.71 per hour in construction and $1.57 per hour in manufacturing. Costs in service-providing industries varied widely, ranging from 12 cents in leisure and hospitality to $1.69 in the financial activities industry.  

Retirement and savings costs increased, both in cost per hour worked and proportion of total compensation, with establishment size. Establishments with fewer than 100 workers averaged 61 cents (2.6% of total compensation). Establishments with 100 to 499 workers averaged $1.03 per hour (3.6 percent) worked, significantly less than establishments with 500 workers or more, which averaged $2.18 (5.4% ). Defined benefit costs ranged from 23 cents per hour worked for establishments with under 100 workers to $1.14 per hour worked for 500 workers or more. Defined contribution costs also showed increases by establishment size from 38 cents per hour worked for 1 to 99 workers to $1.04 per hour worked for 500 workers or more.  

Full-time workers in private industry averaged $1.30 per hour worked (4% of total compensation) for retirement and savings, significantly higher than 26 cents for part-time workers (1.6%). 

Private industry employer costs for paid leave (vacation, holiday, sick leave, and personal leave) averaged $1.90 per hour worked (6.7% of total compensation), supplemental pay (overtime and premium, shift differentials, and nonproduction bonuses) averaged 80 cents (2.8%), insurance benefits (life, health, and disability insurance) averaged $2.27 (8.1%), and legally required benefits (Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation) averaged $2.33 (8.3%).  

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Tara Cantore