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October 29, 2004
Compensation Costs Rise

Compensation costs for the private sector rose 0.9 percent from June to September 2004, after advancing 1.0 percent in the prior quarter, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported.

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For State and local government workers, the increase of compensation costs moderated to 0.5 percent in September, compared with a gain of 1.1 percent for the quarter ended in June.

Private sector benefit costs rose 1.0 percent for the September quarter, moderating from the 1.7 percent gain in the previous quarter. Benefit costs for state and local governments increased 1.4 percent in the September quarter, following an increase of 1.9 percent in June 2004.

Wages and salaries for private industry workers rose 0.9 percent for the September quarter, following a more modest 0.6 percent gain during the prior period. Wage and salary gains in wholesale trade led the increase, while the retail trade industry and service occupations had smaller gains. The change in state and local government wages and salaries was 0.1 percent during the June-to-September period.

For the year ended September 2004, compensation costs in private industry increased 4.6 percent for goods-producing industries, nearly identical to the advance of 4.5 percent for the year ended September 2003. Compensation costs for manufacturing advanced 5.0 percent in September 2004, after increasing 4.7 percent in September 2003. Gains in compensation costs for construction were 2.9 percent in September 2004, compared with a 3.8 percent rise in September 2003.

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