March Hourly Comp Costs Pegged at $29

June 9, 2010 ( – Employer costs for employee compensation averaged $29.71 per hour worked in March 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.

A BLS news release said wages and salaries averaged $20.67 per hour worked and accounted for 69.6% of these costs, while benefits averaged $9.04 and accounted for the remaining 30.4%.

Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $27.73 per hour worked in March 2010. Total employer compensation costs for State and local government workers averaged $39.81 per hour worked in March 2010.

BLS said total compensation costs for 15 metropolitan areas ranged from $38.62 for the Boston-Worcester-Manchester, MA-NH CSA and $38.52 for the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA CSA, to $24.00 in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL MSA.

Employer costs for wages and salaries in the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA CSA were $27.10 per hour worked. Employer costs for benefits in the Boston-Worcester-Manchester, MA-NH CSA were $12.36 per hour.

Civilian employer costs, which include private industry and State and local government workers, averaged $2.62 per hour worked for insurance benefits (life, health, and disability insurance), or 8.8 % of total compensation.

Other Benefit Categories

In addition to insurance, the other benefit categories were: paid leave (vacation, holiday, sick leave, and personal leave); which averaged $2.06 (6.9% of total compensation); supplemental pay (overtime and premium, shift differentials, and nonproduction bonuses); which averaged 73 cents per hour worked (2.5%); retirement and savings (defined benefit and defined contribution plans), which averaged $1.32 per hour (4.5%); and legally required benefits (Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation), which averaged $2.30 per hour worked (7.7%).

Private industry employer costs for paid leave averaged $1.88 per hour worked (6.8% of total compensation), supplemental pay averaged 81 cents (2.9%), insurance benefits averaged $2.22 (8%), retirement and savings averaged 96 cents (3.5%), and legally required benefits averaged $2.28 (8.2 %) per hour worked.

The average cost for health insurance benefits was $2.08 per hour worked in private industry (7.5% of total compensation) in March 2010. In March 2000, employer costs for health benefits averaged $1.09, or 5.5 % of total compensation.

Employer costs for health insurance benefits were significantly higher for union workers, averaging $4.38 per hour (11.8%), than for nonunion workers, averaging $1.82 (6.8%).

In goods-producing industries, health insurance benefit costs were higher, at $2.88 per hour (8.9% of total compensation), than in service-providing industries, at $1.92 per hour (7.2% of total compensation).

Health Insurance

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 (6%); those with 50-99 workers averaged $1.82 (7.2%); those with 100-499 employees averaged $2.36 (8.3%); and those with 500 or more employees averaged $3.38 (8.5%).