Total compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.7 percent in the
first quarter of 2005, with a bulk of the gain coming from rising costs for
benefits, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department
The first-quarter increase of 0.7 percent is the smallest in six years, according
to the Associated Press. In the fourth quarter of 2004, compensation costs rose
Benefit costs rose 1.2 percent from December 2004 to March 2005, outpacing
the gain for wages and salaries of 0.6 percent.
Rises in benefit costs accounted for nearly 60 percent of the increase in compensation
costs for civilian workers from December 2004 to March 2005.
Among private industry workers, benefit costs contributed approximately 60
percent of compensation gains during the quarter, with health-insurance costs
and non-production bonuses accounting for nearly one-third of the gain in compensation
Compensation costs for the private sector rose 0.6 percent from December 2004
to March 2005, after advancing 0.8 percent in the prior quarter.
Wages and salaries for civilian workers increased 0.6 percent during the March
2005 quarter, virtually unchanged from a gain of 0.5 percent in December 2004.
Wages and salaries for private industry workers rose 0.6 percent for the March
quarter, compared with a 0.4 percent gain during the prior period.