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January 31, 2006
Compensation Costs Grew at Slower Pace in 2005

Compensation costs in private industry rose 3.0 percent in 2005, slowing from a 3.8 percent increase in 2004, according to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Wages and salaries in private industry increased 2.5 percent in 2005 compared with a 2.4 percent increase in 2004.

Benefits costs increased at a slower pace in 2005 than they did in 2004. In 2005, benefits costs grey by 4.1 percent in private industry compared with 6.9 percent in 2004.

Over-the-year compensation cost increases were 3.2 percent for white-collar occupations, 2.6 percent for blue-collar occupations, and 2.4 percent for service occupations for the year ended December 2005.

Among white-collar occupational groups, compensation cost changes ranged from 2.9 percent for executive, administrative, and managerial workers to 4.2 percent for sales employees. Among blue-collar occupational groups, compensation cost increases ranged from 1.7 percent for machine operators, assemblers, and inspectors to 3.0 percent for transportation and material-moving occupations.

Compensation costs for union workers advanced 2.8 percent over the year ended December 2005, slowing from the 5.6 percent gain for the year ended December 2004.

For nonunion workers, compensation costs rose 3.0 percent for the year ended December 2005, compared with a gain of 3.4 percent for December 2004.

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