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June 12, 2003
Employer Costs for Employee Compensation

In March 2003, employer costs for employee compensation for civilian workers in private industry and state and local government in the United States averaged $23.93 per hour worked, the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported yesterday. Wages and salaries, which averaged $17.17, accounted for 71.8 percent of these costs, while benefits, which averaged $6.76, accounted for the remaining 28.2 percent.

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Benefits, as a percentage of total compensation, have risen in the past three years from 27.4 percent of total compensation in March 2000.

Legally required benefits averaged $1.89 per hour (7.9 percent of total compensation), representing the largest non-wage employer cost.

Employer costs for paid leave benefits averaged $1.63 (6.8 percent), insurance benefits averaged $1.77 (7.4 percent), and retirement and savings benefits averaged 85 cents (3.6 percent) per hour worked.

In March 2003, private industry employer compensation costs averaged $22.37 per hour worked. Wages and salaries averaged $16.15 per hour (72.2 percent), while benefits averaged $6.22 (27.8 percent.)

Benefits, as a percentage of total compensation, have risen in the past three years from 27.0 percent of total compensation in March 2000.

Employer costs for paid leave averaged $1.47 per hour worked (6.6 percent), supplemental pay averaged 64 cents (2.9 percent), insurance benefits averaged $1.52 (6.8 percent), retirement and savings averaged 67 cents (3.0 percent), and legally required benefits averaged $1.89 (8.4 percent) per hour worked.

Private industry health benefit costs averaged $1.41 per hour or 6.3 percent of total compensation in March 2003. In March 2000, employer costs for health benefit costs averaged $1.09, or 5.5 percent of total compensation.


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