ECI Up 1.1% in Q1

April 29, 2004 ( - During the first quarter of 2004, the Employment Cost Index (ECI) rose 1.1%.

The first quarter’s rise was up from the 0.8% seasonally-adjusted increase notched in the previous three month period (See  ECI Up 0.7% in Q4 ), according to a release of data from the US Department of Labor (DoL).

Wall Street analysts polled by CBS MarketWatch had been expecting a 0.9% rise in costs during the first quarter.

Broken out by individual components, benefits costs increased 2.4% and continued to outpace the 0.6% gain in wages and salaries for civilian workers.   Overall, employer costs for benefits account for only 30% of compensation costs and include such items as health and other insurance, retirement plans, paid leave, and legally required benefits like Social Security.

The ECI is a component of the National Compensation Survey and measures changes in compensation costs, which include wages, salaries, and employer costs for employee benefits.