Compensation Costs Little Changed from Prior Quarter

October 31, 2006 ( - Total compensation costs for civilian, private industry, and state and local government employers were little changed in the quarter ending September 2006 from the prior quarter, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Employment Cost Index.

According to a BLS news release, state and local employers saw the highest increase in total compensation costs during the third quarter of 1.4%, compared to a 1.1% increase in the second quarter of 2006. Wages and salaries accounted for the total increase, rising 1.4% for the quarter ending September 2006, compared to a 0.9% increase in the second quarter. Increases in benefit costs for government employers were unchanged from the prior quarter at 1.5%.

For civilian employers, total compensation costs increased 1% in the third quarter of 2006, compared to an increase of 0.9% in the second quarter, the news release said. Costs for wages and salaries increased 0.9%, unchanged from the previous quarter, while costs for benefits rose 1.1%, compared to a second quarter increase of 0.8%.

Private industry employers saw a total compensation cost increase of 0.9% in the third quarter. Increases in costs for wages and salaries was lower than for the second quarter at 0.8%, compared to 0.9% for the quarter ending June 2006. Costs for benefits increased 1% versus a 0.7% increase in the second quarter.

Annual compensation costs for civilian workers increased 3.3% for the year ended September 2006, compared with a 3% over-the-year increase for September 2005. Compensation costs in private industry rose 3% in the year ended September 2006, compared with a 2.9% increase in September 2005. For state and local governments, compensation costs increased 4.1% for the year ended September 2006, compared with the over-the-year gain of 3.9% in September 2005.

The complete BLS news release is here .