Compensation Costs See Slight Rise From Last Quarter

April 27, 2007 ( - Total compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.8% in the December 2006 to March 2007 period - about the same rate as the prior quarter - the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the US Department of Labor reported Friday.

The BLS said that December to March benefit costs changed by 0.1%, after an increase of 1.1% during the previous three-month period and wages and salaries increased by 1.1% during the same December to March period.

Compensation costs for the private sector also rose 0.6%, with compensation costs for state and local government workers rising by 1.3% — up from the 1% increase the quarter before. Wages and salaries of civilian workers rose 1.1% in the March quarter, up from 0.7%. Private industry workers’ wages and salaries increased 1.1% during the March 2006 quarter, compared with a 0.8% gain in the previous three-month period.

Wages and salaries in state and local government advanced 0.9% during the December to March period, moderating from the 0.8% increase in the prior quarter. Benefits costs declined 0.3% for the private industry in the March quarter, compared to a 0.9% gain in the quarter before.

The change in benefit costs for civilian workers in the March quarter was 0.1%, down from an increase of 1.1% in the December quarter.  For state and  local government, benefits increased 2.1%, up from 1.4% in the previous quarter.

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.