In December 2002, employer costs for employee compensation for civilian workers
in private industry and state and local government in the United States averaged
$23.66 per hour worked, the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics
Wages and salaries, which averaged $17.06, accounted for 72.1 percent of these
costs, while benefits, which averaged $6.60, accounted for the remaining 27.9
Legally required benefits -- Social Security, federal and state unemployment
insurance, and workers' compensation -- averaged $1.86 per hour (7.9 percent
of total compensation), representing the largest non-wage employer cost. Employer
costs for insurance benefits averaged $1.69 (7.1 percent), paid leave benefits
averaged $1.62 (6.8 percent), and retirement and savings benefits averaged 82
cents (3.5 percent) per hour worked.
In December 2002, private industry employer compensation costs averaged $22.14
per hour worked. Wages and salaries averaged $16.08 per hour (72.6 percent),
while benefits averaged $6.07 (27.4 percent.). Employer costs for paid leave
averaged $1.47 per hour worked (6.6 percent), supplemental pay averaged 61 cents
(2.8 percent), insurance benefits averaged $1.46 (6.6 percent), retirement and
savings averaged 64 cents (2.9 percent), and legally required benefits averaged
$1.85 (8.4 percent) per hour worked.
The average cost for legally required benefits was $1.85 per hour worked in
private industry (8.4 percent of total compensation) in December 2002. Employer
costs for legally required benefits varied by industry, occupation, bargaining
status, region, and establishment size. Costs for legally required benefits
were higher in goods-producing industries ($2.33 per hour or 9.0 percent of
total compensation) than in service-producing industries ($1.72 or 8.1 percent
of total compensation).
Paid leave costs in goods-producing industries were $1.70 per hour (6.6 percent
of total compensation), compared with $1.41 (6.7 percent of total compensation)
for service-producing industries in December 2002. Included in this amount were
employer costs for vacations, holidays, sick leave, and other leave, such as
personal leave, jury duty leave, military leave, and funeral leave.
Among major occupational groups, employer costs for paid leave benefits were
highest for white-collar occupations, $2.00 per hour or 7.5 percent of total
compensation. Costs were lowest among service occupations, 47 cents or 4.2 percent
of total compensation. In blue-collar occupations, employer costs for paid leave
averaged $1.16 or 5.6 percent of compensation. Employer costs for paid leave
benefits were significantly higher for union workers, averaging $2.16 per hour
(7.1 percent), than for nonunion workers, averaging $1.39 (6.6 percent).