Slideshow 10 things to know about rising compensation costs

  • September 30 2016, 7:49am EDT
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The cost of employee compensation continues to rise, according to the latest figures from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which calculated that healthcare and retirement expenses for civilian workers for the 12-month period ended June 2016. What follows are highlights released earlier this month from the BLS.

Compensation is growing

Overall compensation grew 2.3% in the latest period compared with 2% the year before, with the cost of benefits comprising 30% of the total.

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Compensation increases vary by sector

Among different industries, compensation jumps vary widely, from a low of 1.5% for natural resource, construction and maintenance workers to 4% for employees in the retail sector.

Benefit costs rise

For the 12 months ending in June, benefit costs for all civilian workers — which include private industry as well as state and local government employees — rose 2.0%.

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Healthcare costs rise

The rise in benefit costs was led by a 2.8% jump in the cost of health benefits.

Union worker benefits costs grow faster

During this period, the cost of benefits for union workers rose 2.3%, compared to only 1.6% for non-union workers. This, however, was a reversal from the year before, when the cost to employers of non-union worker benefits increased 1.5%, compared to a more modest .8% for union workers.

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Private sector benefits costs grow

For employees in the private sector, benefit costs rose 1.7% for the June 12 month period, compared to 1.4% the year before.

Government worker benefits cost grow even faster

Benefit costs for state and local government workers increased by 3.4% for the 12 months ended in June compared with a more tepid 2.7% increase the prior year. Overall, though, the rate of compensation growth for this group remained steady, rising 2.3% in the 12 months ended in June compared with 2.2% the prior year.

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Compensation costs rise fastest on West Coast

Compensation-related costs also rose more rapidly for employers in certain areas of the country. The greatest jump (3.7%) occurred on the West Coast, in the region that encompasses Los Angeles, Long Beach and Riverside, Calif. The most modest increase (1.3%) took place in the Midwest, in the vicinity of St. Paul, Minn., and St. Cloud, Wisc.

Boston leads Northeast compensation rise

In the Northeast, the Boston area saw total compensation increases of 2.2% at the high end of the spectrum, compared with 1.5% for the New York area, which was at the low end.

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Southern compensation rises fastest in Miami

Compensation costs in the South ranged from 2.5% in the vicinity of Miami to 1.5% for the Houston area.