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Economic News Release
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Employer Costs for Employee Compensation Technical Note

                                          TECHNICAL NOTE
Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC), a product of the National Compensation Survey,
provides the average employer cost for wages and salaries as well as benefits per 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, private household 
workers, and the agricultural sector. Federal government workers are excluded from the public sector.

Total benefit costs consist of five major categories and include 18 benefit costs:
* Paid leave - vacation, holiday, sick, and personal leave; 
* Supplemental pay - overtime and premium, shift differentials, and nonproduction bonuses; 
* Insurance - life, health, short-term and long-term disability; 
* Retirement and savings - defined benefit and defined contribution; and 
* Legally required benefits - Social Security [refers to Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability
  Insurance (OASDI) program], Medicare, federal and state unemployment insurance, and workers’

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

The National Compensation Measures provides additional details on the sample design, calculation
methodology, and resources explaining changes over time, see

Sample size
Data for this reference period were collected from a probability sample of approximately 29,600 
occupational observations selected from a sample of about 7,400 private industry establishments 
and approximately 7,700 occupational observations selected from a sample of about 1,400 state and 
local government establishments that provided data at the initial interview. Beginning December 2021, 
an additional (fourth) private industry sample is used in estimation to mitigate the impact 
of decreasing response rates.

Measures of reliability
Relative standard errors (RSEs) provide users a tool to ascertain the quality of an estimate to
ensure that it is within an acceptable range for their intended purpose. RSEs are available at and database query tool at

Compensation costs for state and local government should not be directly compared with costs
for the private industry. Differences between these sectors stem from factors such as variation 
in work activities and occupational structures.

Classification systems
The National Compensation Survey publishes estimates of compensation costs and trends as well as
benefit coverage by ownership, industry group, occupational group, and geographic areas, see

Additional information
Additional and historical ECEC estimates are available in the ECEC database query tool at and in xlsx format at The 2022 ECEC 
release schedule is available at Subscribe to receive 
the BLS Economic News Release email at 

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Last Modified Date: September 20, 2022