Wages and salaries make up a large percentage of the fixed costs in any business or organization. Therefore, developing an accurate operating expense budget requires that changes in wages and salaries be accurately forecast and incorporated into the budgeting process. To predict changes in wages and salaries, employers often look to pay budget surveys that provide information on what other companies are budgeting for average merit pay increases and, when applicable, for general cost of living adjustments.

BLR conducts its own annual pay budget survey to provide you with the information you need. Listed below are links to results of our most recent surveys, along with a link to our Survey Resource Center.



Latest Period Current Prior Period A Year Ago 12 Month % Change
CPI-U Mar. 2018 249.5


243.8 2.4%
CPI-W Mar. 2018 243.5 243.0 237.7 2.4%

ECI Employment Cost Index:

Total Compensation 4Q 2017 130.5 130.0 127.2 2.6%
Wages & Salaries - Private Industry 4Q 2017 130.6 130.0 127.1 2.8%

Wages & Salaries - Civilian Workers

4Q 2017 129.8 129.3 126.6 2.5%
Benefits - Private Industry 4Q 2017 130.2 130.0 127.3 2.3%
Average Weekly Gross Wages Mar. 2018 $755.55 $756.44 $735.50 2.7%

CPI-U, US City Average,
All Items:


CPI-U, US City Average, All
Items Less Food and Energy:


NSA: +0.2% in Mar. 2018

SA: -0.1% in Mar. 2018

NSA: +2.4% since Mar. 2017

Historical Data

Historical Data

Historical Data


NSA: +0.3% in Mar. 2018

SA: +0.2% Mar. 2018

NSA: +2.1% since Mar. 2017

Historical Data

Historical Data

Historical Data


CPI-U, US City Average,
Medical Care:


CPI-W, US City Average,
All Items:


NSA: +0.2% in Mar. 2018

SA: +0.4% in Mar. 2018

NSA: +2.0% since Mar. 2017

Historical Data

Historical Data

Historical Data


NSA: +0.2% in Mar. 2018

SA: -0.2% in Mar. 2018

NSA: +2.4% since Mar. 2017

Historical Data

Historical Data

Historical Data

SA - Seasonally Adjusted     NSA - Not Seasonally Adjusted


 Key to Statistics:

CPI-U: Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers; the newer index representative of the buying habits of about 87% of the total U.S. population. (1982–84=100)

CPI-W: Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners and clerical workers; the older index covering only about 32%
 f the U.S. urban population.

ECI: Measures change in compensation per hour worked, including wages, salaries, and employer costs of benefits. (6/89=100)

Average Weekly Gross Wages and Average Hourly Wages:
Data relate to production workers in manufacturing and mining; construction workers; nonsupervisory workers in transportation, public utilities, and wholesale/retail trade; also finance, insurance, real estate, and other services. Accounts for approximately 80% of the total employees on private, nonfarm payrolls.





Pay Budget Survey Summary - 2018

Pay Budget Survey Summary -- 2017

Pay Budget Survey Summary -- 2016

Pay Budget Survey Summary -- 2015

Pay Budget Survey Summary -- 2014

Pay Budget Survey Summary -- 2013

Pay Budget Survey Summary -- 2012

Pay Budget Survey Summary -- 2011

Survey Resource Center






Compensation Strategies: How to Build a Market-Competitive Salary Structure that Retains and Attracts Your Best and Most Productive Employees

Differentiating Pay for Performance: A Step-By-Step System for Defining Your Needs, Metrics and Goals

Employee Rewards: How to Drive Engagement and Loyalty

Executive Rewards: How to Determine Benefits and Perquisites

Global Rewards: Practical Approaches to Successful Multinational Rewards Strategies

Implementing a Pay-for-Performance Program: How to Set Goals, Motivate Employees, and Drive Results

Incentive-Based Comp: How to Design and Install a Plan that Drives Peak Performance

Incentive Pay Plan Essentials

Knowledge- and Skill-Based Pay: Evaluating Which Is Right for Your Organization

Managing Pay for Performance: Tips to Strengthen the Link and Improve Results

Merit Increases: How to Accurately Budget for Performance-Based Raises

Merit Increases: How to Balance Budgets and Bumps in Performance-Based Salaries

Pay for Performance: Best Practices for Embracing the New Normal in Compensation Design

Pay for Performance: Keys to Engaging and Retaining Your Best Employees

Pay-for-Performance: Pros, Cons, and Assessing Whether It's a Good Fit for Your Organization

The State of Merit Increases: The Latest Options, Budgeting, & Communication Strategies

Total Rewards: How to Effectively Align Performance Management Systems with Total Compensation Programs

Total Rewards Strategies to Engage a Multi-Generational Workforce

Using Job Evaluations to Set Rewards: How to Align People, Positions, Performance, and Pay

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