Employer costs for employee compensation averaged $29.71 per hour worked in March 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on June 9. Wages and salaries averaged $20.67 per hour worked and accounted for 69.6 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $9.04 and accounted for the remaining 30.4 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $27.73 per hour worked in March 2010. Total employer compensation costs for State and local government workers averaged $39.81 per hour worked in March 2010.

Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC), a product of the National Compensation Survey, measures employer costs for wages, salaries, and employee benefits for nonfarm private and State and local government workers.

Metropolitan area costs in private industry
Total compensation costs for 15 metropolitan areas ranged from $38.62 for the Boston-Worcester-Manchester, MA-NH CSA and $38.52 for the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA CSA, to $24.00 in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL MSA. Employer costs for wages and salaries in the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA CSA were $27.10 per hour worked. Employer costs for benefits in the Boston-Worcester-Manchester, MA-NH CSA were $12.36 per hour.

Civilian
Civilian employer costs, which include private industry and State and local government workers, averaged $2.62 per hour worked for insurance benefits (life, health, and disability insurance), or 8.8 percent of total compensation. In addition to insurance, the other benefit categories were: paid leave (vacation, holiday, sick leave, and personal leave); which averaged $2.06 (6.9 percent of total compensation); supplemental pay (overtime and premium, shift differentials, and non-production bonuses); which averaged 73 cents per hour worked (2.5 percent); retirement and savings (defined benefit and defined contribution plans), which averaged $1.32 per hour (4.5 percent); and legally required benefits (Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation), which averaged $2.30 per hour worked (7.7 percent).

Private industry
Private industry employer costs for paid leave averaged $1.88 per hour worked (6.8 percent of total compensation), supplemental pay averaged 81 cents (2.9 percent), insurance benefits averaged $2.22 (8.0 percent), retirement and savings averaged 96 cents (3.5 percent), and legally required benefits averaged $2.28 (8.2 percent) per hour worked.

Health insurance costs in private industry
The average cost for health insurance benefits was $2.08 per hour worked in private industry (7.5 percent of total compensation) in March 2010. In March 2000, employer costs for health benefits averaged $1.09, or 5.5 percent of total compensation.

Among occupational groups, employer costs for health insurance benefits ranged from 92 cents per hour and 6.7 percent of total compensation for service workers, to $3.03 and 6.2 percent of total compensation for management, professional and related occupations. Among other occupational categories, employer costs for health benefits averaged $1.87 (8.6 percent) for sales and office occupations, lower than $2.49 (8.0 percent) for natural resources, construction and maintenance occupations, and $2.34 (9.9 percent) for production, transportation and material moving occupations.

Employer costs for health insurance benefits were significantly higher for union workers, averaging $4.38 per hour (11.8 percent), than for non-union workers, averaging $1.82 (6.8 percent).

In goods-producing industries, health insurance benefit costs were higher, at $2.88 per hour (8.9 percent of total compensation), than in service-providing industries, at $1.92 per hour (7.2 percent of total compensation).

Among the four regions, costs for health insurance benefits ranged from $1.78 per hour in the South to $2.40 in the Northeast. Health care costs were $2.21 in the Midwest and $2.11 in the West. Within census divisions, hourly health benefit costs ranged from $1.68 in the West South Central division to $2.40 in the New England and Middle Atlantic divisions.

Health insurance benefit costs increased, both in average hourly dollar amount and as a proportion of total compensation, with establishment size. Establishments with fewer than 50 workers averaged $1.34 (6.0 percent); those with 50-99 workers averaged $1.82 (7.2 percent); those with 100-499 employees averaged $2.36 (8.3 percent); and those with 500 or more employees averaged $3.38 (8.5 percent).