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October 31, 2003
Compensation Costs Rise Slightly
Total compensation costs for civilian workers rose 1.0 percent from June to September 2003, seasonally adjusted, virtually unchanged from the 0.9 percent gain from March to June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported yesterday.

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Benefit costs increased 1.5 percent and continued to outpace the gain in wages and salaries for civilian workers in September, 0.7 percent.

Over 40 percent of the increase in compensation costs was attributable to changes in benefit costs during the September quarter. Among private-industry workers, benefit costs accounted for over one-third of the gain in compensation during the June to September period.

Wages and salaries for private-industry workers rose 0.9 percent for the September quarter, following a more modest 0.6 percent gain during the prior quarter. Private-sector wage gains were led by service-producing industries, especially retail trade.

In the private sector, benefit costs rose 1.4 percent for the September quarter, following a 1.3 percent gain in the previous quarter. By contrast, the benefit increase for state and local governments jumped to 2.0 percent in the September quarter, following a more modest 1.3 percent increase in June 2003.

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