Employee Compensation Costs Top $25 per hour in September

December 15, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Employer costs for employee compensation averaged $25.36 per hour in September, the Department of Labor (DoL) reported.

Wages and salaries made up a large majority (70.8%) of these costs, with the average per-hour salary coming in at $17.96 on the month, according to a DoL release. Benefits accounted for 29.2%, accounting for $7.40 of the total hourly costs in September. This is comprised of legally required benefits ($2.06) – such as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation – insurance benefits ($1.96), paid leave benefits ($1.68), and retirement and savings benefits ($1.05). Legally required benefits made up the largest non-wage employer cost in September.

Compensation costs for state and local governments were at a total of $34.72 per hour on average, with salaries making up 68.6% of this cost. Benefits accounted for 31.4% of these costs, which is up 1.4% from a year ago. Retirement and savings benefits accounted for 6.4% of total costs at this level, with defined benefit plan using 5.7% and defined contribution plans using only 0.7%. DB costs are up 0.5% over the same time last year.

Not surprisingly, costs for higher level positions was higher, with an average of $42.30 being spent an hour on compensation for such employees.

Private industry costs were slightly lower, with the average employer cost for employee compensation sitting at $23.76 in September. Benefits took up 28.6% of this ($6.80): this is made up of legally required benefits (8.7%), paid leave benefits (6.4%), insurance benefits (7.1%), and supplemental pay benefits (2.7%), and retirement and savings benefits (3.6%).