Average costs for private industry employers were composed of wages and salaries (72.2%), averaging $16.15 per hour and benefits (27.8%), averaging $6.22 per hour. Benefits, as a percentage of total compensation, have risen in the past three years from 27% of total compensation in March 2000, according to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Breaking down the benefit costs as a percentage of the total of average compensation costs per hour worked:
- legally required benefits (such as Social Security and unemployment insurance) – 8.4%
- insurance benefits – 6.8%
- employer costs for paid leave – 6.6%
- retirement and savings – 3.0%
- supplemental pay – 2.9%.
Additionally, employer costs for civilian workers in private industry and state and local government averaged $23.93 per hour worked. Wages and salaries, which averaged $17.17 accounted for 71.8% of these costs, while benefits, which averaged $6.76, accounted for the remaining 28.2%. Benefits, as a percentage of total compensation, have risen in the past three years from 27.4% of total compensation in March 2000.
Like their private industry counterpart, legally required benefits represented the largest non-wage employer cost, averaging $1.89 per hour (7.9% of total compensation). Other benefit costs included:
- employer costs for paid leave – 6.8%
- insurance benefits – 7.4%
- retirement and savings benefits – 3.6%.
The data is part of the BLS Compensation Cost Trends. Released in April, the BLS revealed the Employment Cost Index (ECI) rose 1.3% in the first quarter of 2003, largely riding a 2.2% run up in benefit costs (See Employment Costs Spike 1.3% in the First Quarter ).