Compensation costs for the private sector rose 0.7 percent from September to December
2004, after advancing 0.9 percent in the prior quarter, according to the Bureau
of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. Private sector benefit costs
rose 1.5 percent for the December quarter, significantly higher than the 1.0 percent
gain in the previous quarter.
Benefit costs for state and local governments increased 1.5 percent in the
December quarter, following an increase of 1.4 percent in September 2004.
For state and local government workers, compensation costs rose 1.0 percent
in December, a gain from the 0.5 percent advance in September.
Wages and salaries for private industry workers rose 0.4 percent for the December
quarter, slowing from the 0.9 percent gain during the prior period.
Among private industry workers, benefit costs contributed nearly two-thirds
of compensation gains during the quarter, with defined benefit retirement costs
accounting for nearly one-third of the gain in compensation costs.