According to data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) health insurance was the largest individual employer benefit cost at $2.12 per hour, which accounted for 7.5% of total compensation costs. This compares to March 2001, when employer costs for health benefits averaged $1.16, or 5.6% of total compensation.
Private industry employer costs for retirement and savings benefits averaged $1.00 per hour worked (3.5% of total compensation).
Among occupational groups, employer costs for health insurance benefits ranged from 91 cents per hour worked and 6.5% of total compensation for service workers, to $3.17 and 6.3% of total compensation for management, professional, and related occupations. Among other occupational categories, employer costs for health benefits averaged $1.90 (8.6%) for sales and office occupations, lower than $2.47 (8%) for natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations, and $2.39 (10.1%) for production, transportation, and material moving occupations.
Employer costs for health insurance benefits were significantly higher for union workers, averaging $4.63 per hour (12.3%), than for nonunion workers, averaging $1.85 (6.8%).
In goods-producing industries, health insurance benefit costs were higher, at $2.94 per hour (8.9% of total compensation), than in service-providing industries, at $1.95 per hour (7.2% of total compensation).
Among the four regions, costs for health insurance benefits ranged from $1.79 per hour in the South to $2.49 in the Northeast. Health insurance costs were $2.28 in the Midwest and $2.13 in the West. Within census divisions, hourly health benefit costs ranged from $1.72 in the West South Central division to $2.50 in the Middle Atlantic division.
Health insurance benefit costs increased, both in average hourly dollar amount and as a proportion of total compensation, with establishment size. Establishments with fewer than 50 workers averaged $1.34 per hour worked (6% of total compensation); those with 50-99 workers averaged $1.83 (7.1%); those with 100-499 employees averaged $2.40 (8.4%); and those with 500 or more employees averaged $3.54 (8.7%).The BLS data is at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ecec.pdf.
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