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U.S. Labor Costs Up 1.3% in Third Quarter

Wages and salaries for private-sector workers notched 4.6 percent year over year


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Labor costs for workers in the U.S. rose 1.3 percent for the third quarter of 2021, the largest jump in 20 years, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Oct. 29.

Wages and salaries increased 1.5 percent and benefit costs rose 0.9 percent from June through September 2021.

Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 3.7 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2021, up from a 2.4 percent rise a year earlier.

Rising wages are being driven by widespread labor shortages associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and higher inflation, leading to increased wage demands. Employers are also offering more benefits and sign-on bonuses to recruit new hires and maintain current employees.

Private-Sector Costs Higher

Excluding state and local government workers, compensation costs for private industry workers surged 4.1 percent year over year, up from a 2.4 percent annual increase at the end of September 2020, BLS reported.

Wages and salaries for private-sector workers rose 4.6 percent for the 12-month period ending September 2021, up from a 2.7 percent increase a year earlier. The cost of benefits increased 2.6 percent for the 12-month period ending this September, up from a 2 percent increase the year before.


Related SHRM Article:

2022 Salary Increases Look to Trail Inflation, SHRM Online, September 2021

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