Department of Labor Data Show Slight Slowing of Compensation Cost Increase

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Recent data published by the the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that rate of growth of U.S. civilian workers’ compensation grew more slowly in the second quarter. Compensation costs for those works increased 0.5 percent for the period ending June 30, 2017, with benefits costs increasing slightly more than wages and salaries. For the year, civilian workers’ compensation increased 2.4 percent (for the 12-month period ending in June 2017) versus 2.3 percent for the prior year ending June 2016.

Looking at longer term trends in manufacturing, manufacturing compensation has risen at a rate slightly below all workers (since the end of 2005), with retail trade, transportation, and utilities outpacing manufacturing. Interestingly, despite some political rhetoric that asserts that the decline in unionization results in lower employee compensation, the BLS data suggest that unionized manufacturing workplaces have seen a slower rate of increase in compensation than non-unionized workplaces.

The employment cost index (ECI) is a quarterly economic series detailing the changes in the costs of labor for businesses in the United States economy. The ECI is prepared by BLS, and the most recent ECI release can be found at

Contact ACA’s Allen Irish for more information.