According to the latest Employment Cost Index (ECI), figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), compensation costs were up by 0.7% during the latest quarter – the same as was reported for the September to December 2004 period.
Overall, benefits costs rose by 1.2% in the December 2004 to March 2005 period , ahead of the 0.6% advance for the cost of wages and salaries, BLS said. The rise in benefits cost, therefore, accounted for over 60% of cost increases in the latest period measured.
For private industry workers, benefits costs also accounted for 60% of cost increases, as health insurance costs and nonproduction bonuses representing nearly a third of the compensation costs advance.
For public workers, the rise in benefits comprised 50% of compensation gains through the final three months of the year, with health insurance costs accounting for 25% of the hikes.
The Employment Cost Index (ECI), a component of the National Compensation Survey, measures quarterly changes in compensation costs, which include wages, salaries, and employer costs for employee benefits for non-farm private and State and local government workers.