Cost of health benefits: $1.64 per hour in March 2005

June 17, 2005

The average employer cost for health benefits was $1.64 per hour worked in private industry in March 2005—6.8 percent of total compensation.

Employer costs per hour worked for health benefits, private industry, by selected categories, March 2005
[Chart data—TXT]

Five years earlier, in March 2000, employer costs for health benefits averaged $1.09, or 5.5 percent of total compensation.

Employer costs for health benefits varied by industry, occupation, bargaining status, region, and establishment size. For example, in goods-producing industries in March 2005, health benefit costs were higher, $2.28 per hour, than in service-providing industries, $1.48 per hour. Another example: Employer costs for health benefits were significantly higher for union workers, averaging $3.41 per hour, than for nonunion workers, averaging $1.42.

These data are from the BLS Compensation Cost Trends program. Additional information is available from "Employer Costs for Employee Compensation, March 2005" (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 05-1056.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Cost of health benefits: $1.64 per hour in March 2005 on the Internet at (visited September 26, 2016).


Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.