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August 03, 2004
Rise in Compensation Costs Eases

Total compensation costs for the private sector increased 1.0 percent from March to June 2004, seasonally adjusted, after advancing 1.1 percent in the previous quarter, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported.

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Benefit costs rose 1.7 percent for the June quarter, moderating from the 2.6 percent gain in the previous quarter. Among private industry workers, benefit costs were one-half of compensation gains during the quarter, with health insurance and defined benefit retirement costs combined accounting for one-quarter of the rise in compensation costs.

For state and local government workers, compensation costs increased 1.1 percent from March to June, compared with a gain of 1.0 percent for the quarter ended in March.

During the quarter, wages and salaries for workers in private industry increased 0.6 percent, identical to the increase for the previous quarter.

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