Not a Member?  Become One Today!

Employment Costs Rose 2.2% in 2011; Benefits Outpace Wages

By SHRM Online staff  2/1/2012
Copyright Image Permissions

Employment costs (including wages/salaries and benefits) for private-sector workers in the U.S. increased 2.2 percent in 2011, up just slightly from the 2.1 percent increase in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

According to the BLS's Employment Cost Index—December 2011 report, released in January 2012:

Wages and salaries (which make up about 70 percent of compensation costs) increased 1.6 percent in 2011, down from the 1.8 percent increase logged in 2010.

Benefit costs (which make up the remaining 30 percent of compensation) increased 3.6 percent in 2011, outpacing the 2.9 percent increase in 2010.

Private-Sector Employment Cost Increases
For the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2011:

Employment Costs


Wages and salaries




Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Cost Index—December 2011.

In addition, the BLS reported that:

Private-sector employer costs for health benefits increased 3.5 percent in 2011, lower than the 2010 increase of 5 percent, the BLS found.

Among occupational groups, employment cost increases in 2011 ranged from 1.7 percent for service occupations to 2.4 percent for production, transportation and material moving occupations.

Among industry sectors, employment cost increases ranged from 1 percent for leisure and hospitality to 2.8 percent for manufacturing.

Quick Links:

SHRM Online Compensation Discipline

SHRM Salary Survey Directory

SHRM Compensation Data Center

SHRM Metro Economic Outlook reports

Sign up for SHRM’s free Compensation & Benefits e-newsletter

Copyright Image Permissions


Swipe for more!