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News Release Information

21-846-SAN
Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Contacts

Technical information:
Media contact:
  • (415) 625-2270

Changing Compensation Costs in the Seattle Metropolitan Area – March 2021

Compensation costs for private industry workers increased 2.5 percent in the Seattle-Tacoma, WA Combined Statistical Area (CSA) for the year ended March 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Chris Rosenlund noted that one year ago, Seattle experienced an annual gain of 2.1 percent in compensation costs. (See chart 1 and table 1.) Locally, wages and salaries, the largest component of compensation costs, advanced at a 2.6-percent pace for the 12-month period ended March 2021. (See chart 2.) Nationwide, compensation costs increased 2.8 percent and wages and salaries rose 3.0 percent over the same period.

Chart 1. Twelve-month percent changes in total compensation for private industry workers in the United States and Seattle, not seasonally adjusted
Chart 2. Twelve-month percent changes in wages and salaries for private industry workers in the United States and Seattle, not seasonally adjusted

Seattle is 1 of 15 metropolitan areas in the United States and 1 of 4 areas in the West region of the country for which locality compensation cost data are available. Among these 15 largest areas, over-the-year percentage changes in the compensation costs ranged from 4.2 percent in Los Angeles to 1.1 percent in Houston in March 2021; for wages and salaries, Los Angeles registered the largest increase (4.8 percent) and Houston registered the smallest (1.1 percent). (See chart 3.)

Chart 3. Twelve-month percent changes in total compensation and wages and salaries for private industry workers by area, not seasonally adjusted, March 2021

The annual increase in compensation costs in Seattle was 2.5 percent in March 2021, compared to changes that ranged from 4.2 to 2.2 percent in the three other metropolitan areas in the West (Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Jose). Seattle’s 2.6-percent gain in wages and salaries over this 12-month period compared to rates ranging from 4.8 percent to 2.1 percent in the three other western localities. (See table 2.)

Locality compensation costs are part of the national Employment Cost Index (ECI), which measures quarterly changes in compensation costs, which include wages, salaries and employer costs for employee benefits. In addition to the 15 locality estimates provided in this release, ECI data for the nation, 4 geographical regions, and 9 geographical divisions are available. (Geographical definitions for the metropolitan areas mentioned in this release are included in the Technical Note.)

In addition to the data presented here, national data by industry, occupational group, and union status, as well as data for both private and state and local government employees, are available at www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/home.htm. The national news release summary is available at www.bls.gov/news.release/eci.toc.htm. Additional information for regions, states, and local areas may be accessed via our regional homepage at www.bls.gov/regions/west/.

The Employment Cost Index for June 2021 is scheduled to be released on July 30, 2021.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact on the March 2021 Employment Cost Index

Response rates for March were comparable with prior releases and no changes in estimation procedures were necessary. Additional information is available at www.bls.gov/bls/effects-of-covid-19-on-workplace-injuries-and-illnesses-compensation-and-occupational-requirements.htm#ECI.


Technical Note

The Employment Cost Index (ECI) measures the change in the cost of labor, free from the influence of employment shifts among occupations and industries. For information on survey concepts, coverage, methods, nonresponse adjustment, and imputation see National Compensation Measures Handbook of Methods at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/ncs/home.htm.

Wages and salaries are defined as straight-time average hourly earnings or, for workers not paid on an hourly basis, straight-time earnings divided by the corresponding hours. Straight-time wage and salary rates are total earnings before payroll deductions, excluding premium pay for overtime, work on weekends and holidays, and shift differentials. Production bonuses, incentive earnings, commission payments, and cost-of-living adjustments are included in straight-time earnings, whereas nonproduction bonuses or those not directly tied to production (such as end-of-year and profit-sharing bonuses) are excluded. Also excluded are such items as payments-in-kind, free room and board, and tips.

The metropolitan area definitions of the 15 published localities are listed below.

  • Atlanta-Athens-Clarke County-Sandy Springs, GA Combined Statistical Area (CSA) includes Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Jasper, Lamar, Madison, Meriwether, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Paulding, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Upson, and Walton Counties in Georgia.
  • Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT CSA includes Barnstable, Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester Counties in Massachusetts; Bristol, Kent, Newport, Providence, and Washington in Rhode Island; Belknap, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Strafford Counties in New Hampshire; and Windham County in Connecticut.
  • Chicago-Naperville, IL-IN-WI CSA includes Bureau, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, La Salle, McHenry, Putnam and Will Counties in Illinois; Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton, and Porter Counties in Indiana; and Kenosha County in Wisconsin.
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, TX-OK CSA includes Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Grayson, Henderson, Hood, Hopkins, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, Hopkins, Palo Pinto, Parker, Rockwall, Somervell, Tarrant, and Wise Counties in Texas; and Bryan County in Oklahoma.
  • Detroit-Warren-Ann Arbor, MI CSA includes Genesee, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne Counties in Michigan.
  • Houston-The Woodlands, TX CSA includes Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Trinity, Walker, Waller, Washington and Wharton Counties in Texas.
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA CSA includes Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties in California.
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie, FL CSA includes Broward, Indian River, Martin, Miami-Dade, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie Counties in Florida.
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI CSA includes Anoka, Benton, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Goodhue, Hennepin, Isanti, Le Sueur, McLeod, Mille Lachs, Ramsey, Rice, Scott, Sherburne, Sibley, Stearns, Washington, and Wright Counties in Minnesota; and Pierce and St. Croix Counties in Wisconsin.
  • New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA CSA includes Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Ulster, and Westchester Counties in New York; Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren Counties in New Jersey; Fairfield, Litchfield, and New Haven Counties in Connecticut; and Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, and Pike Counties in Pennsylvania.
  • Philadelphia-Reading-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD CSA includes Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Franklin, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania; Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties in New Jersey; Kent and New Castle Counties in Delaware; and Cecil County in Maryland.
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Maricopa and Pinal Counties in Arizona.
  • San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA CSA includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma Counties in California.
  • Seattle-Tacoma, WA CSA includes Island, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, and Thurston Counties in Washington.
  • Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA CSA includes the District of Columbia; Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Carroll, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's, Queen Anne's, St. Mary's, and Talbot Counties in Maryland; Franklin County in Pennsylvania; Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, and Winchester Cities and Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun, Prince William, Rappahannock, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Warren Counties in Virginia; and Berkeley, Hampshire, and Jefferson Counties in West Virginia.

Definitions of the four geographic regions of the country are noted below.

  • Northeast: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
  • South: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
  • West: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

Table 1. Employment Cost Index for total compensation and for wages and salaries, private industry workers, United States, West Census region, and the Seattle area, not seasonally adjusted
Area Total compensation Wages and salaries
12-month percent changes for period ended- 12-month percent changes for period ended-
Mar. Jun. Sep. Dec. Mar. Jun. Sep. Dec.

United States

2017

2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.6 2.4 2.6 2.8

2018

2.8 2.9 2.9 3.0 2.9 2.9 3.1 3.1

2019

2.8 2.6 2.7 2.7 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0

2020

2.8 2.7 2.4 2.6 3.3 2.9 2.7 2.8

2021

2.8 3.0

West

2017

2.9 3.0 3.4 3.3 3.2 3.1 3.4 3.3

2018

3.6 3.6 3.3 3.2 3.7 3.7 3.7 3.7

2019

2.9 2.8 2.8 2.7 3.5 3.2 3.1 3.0

2020

3.2 2.6 2.8 3.0 3.6 2.9 3.1 3.2

2021

2.7 2.8

Seattle-Tacoma

2017

2.4 2.7 7.6 6.9 3.6 3.6 3.8 3.4

2018

7.2 7.8 0.7 0.6 3.6 3.9 3.7 3.7

2019

-0.2 -0.4 2.4 1.4 2.9 2.9 2.4 1.3

2020

2.1 2.3 2.6 3.1 3.3 3.4 3.6 4.1

2021

2.5 2.6
Table 2. Employment Cost Index for total compensation and for wages and salaries, private industry workers, United States, Census regions, and localities, not seasonally adjusted
Area Total compensation Wages and salaries
12-month percent changes for period ended- 12-month percent changes for period ended-
Mar. 2020 Dec. 2020 Mar. 2021 Mar. 2020 Dec. 2020 Mar. 2021

United States

2.8 2.6 2.8 3.3 2.8 3.0

Northeast

2.6 2.3 3.1 3.1 2.4 3.4

Boston-Worcester-Providence

3.5 3.3 2.9 4.0 3.2 2.9

New York-Newark

2.5 1.8 2.9 2.9 1.8 3.1

Philadelphia-Reading-Camden

2.3 2.8 2.4 2.9 3.7 3.0

South

2.6 2.6 3.1 3.0 2.8 3.4

Atlanta-Athens-Clarke County-Sandy Springs

3.6 2.9 2.3 4.3 3.4 2.9

Dallas-Fort Worth

2.9 3.4 3.0 3.7 2.8 2.3

Houston-The Woodlands

2.8 2.7 1.1 2.8 3.0 1.1

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie

1.9 1.5 3.4 2.0 1.5 4.0

Washington-Baltimore-Arlington

3.0 3.6 3.9 3.5 3.9 4.0

Midwest

3.0 2.5 2.3 3.5 2.6 2.2

Chicago-Naperville

3.2 2.8 3.1 3.8 3.2 3.3

Detroit-Warren-Ann Arbor

2.7 3.1 3.1 3.7 2.9 2.5

Minneapolis-St. Paul

3.1 1.6 2.1 3.6 1.8 2.4

West

3.2 3.0 2.7 3.6 3.2 2.8

Los Angeles-Long Beach

3.5 3.7 4.2 4.1 4.5 4.8

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale

3.7 3.8 3.6 4.4 4.2 3.4

San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland

3.7 3.5 2.2 4.4 3.7 2.1

Seattle-Tacoma

2.1 3.1 2.5 3.3 4.1 2.6

 

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, May 05, 2021