BLS Reports Q4 Comp Cost Increase Same as Prior Quarter

January 31, 2006 ( - Total compensation costs for civilian workers increased .8% in the 4th quarter of 2005, the same increase as for the 3rd quarter, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.

The BLS reported that benefit costs rose 1.1%, compared to the increase of .8% in wages and salaries for civilian workers.

For civilian workers, benefit costs advanced 1.1%, compared to a 1.3% increase in the 3 rd quarter of 2005.   Private sector benefit costs increased .9% in the fourth quarter, while benefit costs for state and local government workers increased 1.5%.

Wages and salaries of civilian workers rose .8% in the December quarter, while private industry workers wages and salaries increased 0.6%, the same increase as in the previous three quarters. Wages and salaries in state and local government advanced 0.9% during the September to December 2005 period.

Annual compensation cost increases were lower for civilian and private industry workers for the year ended December 2005, compared with their over-the-year increases for December 2004. Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 3.1% for the 2005 year, compared with a 3.7% over-the-year increase for 2004. Compensation costs in private industry rose 3% in 2005, slowing from a 3.8% increase in 2004.  

Compensation costs increased 4.1% for state and local governments for the year ended December 2005, higher than the over-the-year gain of 3.5% in 2004.

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 civilian workers.