Employer Costs for Employee Compensation news release text

FOR RELEASE 10:00 A.M. (EST) FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2018				USDL-18-1941

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		EMPLOYER COSTS FOR EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION – SEPTEMBER 2018
			
Employer costs for employee compensation averaged $36.63 per hour worked in September 2018, 
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged $25.03 per 
hour worked and accounted for 68.3 percent of these costs, while benefit costs averaged 
$11.60 and accounted for the remaining 31.7 percent. Total employer compensation costs for 
private industry workers averaged $34.53 per hour worked in September 2018. Total employer 
compensation costs for state and local government workers averaged $50.03 per hour worked in 
September 2018.

Highlights of employer compensation costs per hour worked for state and local government
workers, September 2018:

•  Employer costs for wages and salaries averaged $31.23 per hour and accounted for 62.4 percent 
of compensation costs. (See table 3.)
•  Employer costs for benefits averaged $18.80 per hour worked and accounted for the remaining 
37.6 percent. (See table 3.)
•  Employer compensation costs by occupational group ranged from $34.72 per hour worked for sales 
and office workers to $60.14 per hour worked for management, professional, and related workers. 
The management, professional, and related occupational group includes teachers, whose compensation 
costs averaged $66.14 per hour worked. (See tables 3 and 4.)
•  Employers spent $5.82 per hour worked, or 11.6 percent of total compensation for retirement 
and savings benefits. (See table 3.)
•  Employer costs for retirement and savings for management, professional, and related workers 
averaged $6.99 per hour worked. Employer costs for retirement and savings for sales and office 
workers averaged $3.64. (See table 4.)
•  Included in retirement and savings benefits were employer costs for defined benefit plans, 
which averaged $5.41 per hour (10.8 percent of total compensation), and defined contribution plans, 
which averaged 41 cents (0.8 percent). (See table 3.)
•  Insurance benefit costs averaged $5.93 per hour, or 11.9 percent of total compensation. Health 
insurance averaged $5.78, or 11.6 percent of total compensation. (See table 3.)  
•  Employer costs for paid leave include vacation, holiday, sick leave, and personal leave. The 
average cost for paid leave was $3.76 per hour worked, or 7.5 percent of total compensation. 
(See table 3.)
•  Employer costs for legally required benefits, including Social Security, Medicare, unemployment 
insurance (both state and federal), and workers’ compensation, averaged $2.77 per hour worked, or 
5.5 percent of total compensation. (See table 3.)

Benefit costs in private industry

Private industry employer costs for paid leave averaged $2.41 per hour worked or 7.0 percent of total 
compensation, supplemental pay averaged $1.32 or 3.8 percent, insurance benefits averaged $2.74 or 
7.9 percent, retirement and savings costs averaged $1.35 or 3.9 percent, and legally required benefits 
averaged $2.66 per hour worked or 7.7 percent.  (See table A and table 5.)

Table A.  Relative importance of employer costs for employee compensation, September 2018

Compensation                            Civilian       Private      State and local
  component                             workers(1)     industry       government
____________________________________________________________________________________________
Wages and salaries                       68.3%          69.7%            62.4%
Benefits                                 31.7           30.3             37.6
   Paid leave                             7.1            7.0              7.5
   Supplemental pay                       3.3            3.8              1.0
   Insurance                              8.7            7.9             11.9
     Health benefits                      8.2            7.5             11.6
   Retirement and savings                 5.3            3.9             11.6
     Defined benefit                      3.3            1.6             10.8
     Defined contribution                 2.0            2.3              0.8
   Legally required                       7.3            7.7              5.5
____________________________________________________________________________________________
   1 Includes workers in the private nonfarm economy except those in private households, and 
     workers in the public sector, except the federal government.
____________ 
Employer Costs for Employee Compensation for December 2018 is scheduled to be released on 
Tuesday, March 19, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

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Last Modified Date: December 14, 2018