Technical Note

					    TECHNICAL NOTE

Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC), a product of the National Compensation Survey,
provides the average cost to employers for wages and salaries as well as benefits per employee hour worked.
The ECEC covers the civilian economy, which includes data from both private industry and state and local
government. Excluded from private industry are the self-employed, agricultural workers, and private
household workers. Federal government workers are excluded from the public sector.

All workers are included in the benefit cost estimates including those that do not have plan access or do not
participate. Costs are also affected by other factors such as cost sharing between employers and employees,
plan features, and plan generosity. For the latest information on the percentage of workers with access to
and participating in employer-sponsored benefit plans, including health care and retirement and savings
plans, see www.bls.gov/ebs.

The “National Compensation Measures,” of the BLS Handbook of Methods, www.bls.gov/opub/hom/ncs/home.htm, 
provides additional details on the sample design, calculation methodology, and resources explaining changes 
over time.

Metropolitan area estimates, including historical data, are available in the ECEC database query tool at
www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/data.htm.

Sample size
Data for the March 2019 reference period were collected from a probability sample of approximately
26,500 occupational observations selected from a sample of about 6,500 private industry establishments and
approximately 7,900 occupational observations selected from a sample of about 1,400 state and local
government establishments that provided data at the initial interview.

Measures of reliability
Relative standard errors are available at www.bls.gov/web/ecec.supp.toc.htm and database query tools at
www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/data.htm.

Comparing estimates across economic sectors
Compensation cost levels in state and local government should not be directly compared with levels in
private industry. Differences between these sectors stem from factors such as variation in work activities
and occupational structures. Manufacturing and sales, for example, make up a large part of private
industry work activities but are rare in state and local government. Professional and administrative
support occupations (including teachers) account for two-thirds of the state and local government
workforce, compared with one-half of private industry.

Quarterly publication focus
This quarter’s release focuses on compensation costs in metropolitan areas and health insurance benefit
costs in private industry. Topics of news releases for the upcoming reference periods are as follows:
• June 2019—retirement and savings benefit costs in private industry
• September 2019—compensation costs in state and local government
• December 2019—supplemental pay costs in private industry

For 2019 ECEC release dates, see www.bls.gov/schedule/news_release/ecec.htm.

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Last Modified Date: June 18, 2019