Health Benefits Cost Employers $2.60 Per Hour Worked

Washington, DC — June 19, 2012 — Employers in private industry, state government, and local governments paid an average of $2.60 per hour worked to provide health benefits to their employees in March 2012, according to a recent report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report is based on the Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC) survey. The ECEC report is issued four times a year for the reference months of March, June, September, and December. It provides estimates for wages and salaries and 18 separate benefits, including health benefits, for various categories. The categories include ownership, occupation, establishment size, geographic regions, and bargaining status. In addition, once a year with the March reference period, estimates for total compensation, wages and salaries, and total benefits are provided for 15 metropolitan areas.

In private industry, health benefits cost small establishments—those with fewer than 50 employees—an average of $1.40 per hour worked. The largest establishment category—those with 500 or more employees—averaged $3.76. Employers in private industry paid an average of $4.95 per hour worked for union workers’ health benefits, while nonunion workers cost an average of $1.92. Health benefit cost estimates for 51 categories, along with estimates for the other 17 benefits and wages and salaries, are included in the report.

About the Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. Its mission is to collect, analyze, and disseminate essential economic information to support public and private decision-making. As an independent statistical agency, BLS serves its diverse user communities by providing products and services that are objective, timely, accurate, and relevant.

About BLS Information Offices

BLS has eight regional information offices located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. BLS staff from these offices are available to assist data users in finding and understanding the data they need. The Information Offices may be contacted via email, telephone, or in person.

About the Employer Costs for Employee Compensation Survey

The Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC) survey is one of several outputs of the National Compensation Survey (NCS). The NCS is an on-going comprehensive employer-based survey of approximately 11,000 establishments conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It produces data on benefits, wages, and compensation cost trends. In addition to the ECEC, compensation cost trends includes the Employment Cost Index (ECI), which is a principal federal economic indicator. The ECI measures the percent change in the cost of wages and benefits.