September Comp Costs Averaged $26.05

December 9, 2005 ( - Employers shelled out an average $26.05 in compensation per hour worked in September, according to the latest government data.

The US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that wages and salaries, which averaged $18.28, accounted for 70.2% of these costs, while benefits, which averaged $7.77, accounted for the remaining 29.8%.

Costs for legally required benefits, including Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation, averaged $2.13 per hour (8.2% of total compensation) while employer costs for life, health, and disability insurance benefits averaged $2.10 (8%); paid leave benefits (vacations, holidays, sick leave, and other leave) averaged $1.72 (6.6%); and retirement and savings benefits averaged $1.13 (4.3 %) per hour worked.

In September, private industry employer compensation costs averaged $24.34 per hour worked. Of that, wages and salaries averaged $17.23 per hour (70.8%), while benefits averaged $7.11 (29.2%). Employer costs for paid leave averaged $1.55 per hour worked (6.4%), supplemental pay averaged 71cents (2.9%), insurance benefits averaged $1.78 (7.3%), retirement and savings averaged 90 cents (3.7%), and legally required benefits $2.14 (8.8%) per hour worked.

Also over the month, state and local government employer costs averaged $36.16 per hour worked. Wages and salaries, which accounted for 67.8% of the total, averaged $24.52, while benefits, which accounted for the remaining 32.2%, averaged $11.64. Benefit costs increased from 31.4% of total compensation and $10.89 per hour for state and local government workers in September 2004.

In September 2005, the average cost for retirement and savings benefits was $2.48 per hour worked in state and local governments (6.9% of total compensation). Included in this amount were employer costs for defined benefit plans, which averaged $2.21 per hour (6.1%), and defined contribution plans, which averaged 27 cents (0.7%).