Health Care Hikes Employment Costs

October 25, 2001( The employment cost index, a gauge of what employers pay in wages, salaries and benefits, increased by 1% in the third quarter of this year, according to the Department of Labor.

The number is higher than the 0.9% expected by analysts and higher than the 0.9% in the prior quarter.

The index reached 1455.6, from a base of 100 in June 1989, and an increase of 4.1% over the same period last year.

Over the period:

  • wages and salaries grew by 0.8%, compared to the 1% increase in the second quarter,
  • benefit costs rose by 1.6%, versus the 1.0% rise in the second quarter of the year

The Labor Department attributed the increase in benefit costs to hikes in health insurance premiums and noted that while the terrorist attacks occurred during the reference period, they had no effect on the data.