Private Sector Pay Up From March

September 18, 2002 ( - Private industry employers in June 2002 paid an average of $21.83 per hour, a $0.12 increase from March, according to the latest data from the US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Wages costs amounted to $15.90 per hour for private employers in June, which was 72.8% of total compensation costs, according to figures from BLS’s employment cost index data series. The figures were last updated in March.

Employers’ average compensation costs were higher for union represented workers ($29.66 an hour), than for nonunion workers ($20.88 an hour). Among union-represented workers, benefits made up a larger proportion of total costs (34.4%) compared with nonunion workers (26.0%), according to BLS.

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BLS found that private industry employers paid an average of $1.31 an hour in health benefits costs, or 6% of total compensation. These costs varied sharply by region, occupation, bargaining status, and establishment size.

Among the four broad geographic regions for which the agency provides data, health benefit costs ran from $1.16 in the South to $1.52 in the Northeast, BLS found.

Civilian Workers

When state and local government workers are added to private industry employees, BLS estimated that employer costs for civilian employers stood at $23.20 an hour in June 2002. Wages for civilian workers averaged $23.15 an hour in March.

BLS found that compensation costs varied sharply among industry and occupational group, region, establishment size, and workers characteristics, including bargaining status and full-time or part-time status.

Compensation costs for workers in goods-producing industries averaged $25.57 per hour and $20.77 per hour in service-producing industries. In the manufacturing sector, compensation costs averaged $25.30 per hour and $21.20 per hour in the nonmanufacturing sector, BLS said.

BLS said compensation costs for full-time workers in private industry averaged $24.76 per hour in June 2002, compared with $12.15 an hour for part-time workers.