We haven’t reported on salary and benefit costs recently so checked in on the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The most recent release was for the Employment Cost Index for December 2015. Among the highlights:

  • Compensation costs for private industry workers increased 1.9% over the year, slowing from the December 2014 increase of 2.3%. Wages and salaries increased 2.1% for the current 12- month period. In December 2014, the increase was 2.2%. The increase in the cost of benefits was 1.3% for the 12-month period ending in December 2015, lower than December 2014 when the increase was 2.5%.
  • Employer costs for health benefits increased 3% over the year. In December 2014, the increase was 2.4%.
  • Among occupational groups, compensation cost increases for private industry workers for the 12-month period ending in December 2015 ranged from 1.4% for natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations to 2.6% for production, transportation, and material moving occupations.
  • Compensation costs for state and local government workers increased 2.5% for the 12-month period ending in December 2015.

In December, BLS issued the most recent Employment Cost Index

Employer costs for employee compensation for civilian workers averaged $33.37 per hour worked in September 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged $22.88 per hour worked and accounted for 68.6 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $10.48 and accounted for the remaining 31.4 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $31.53 per hour worked in September 2015.


What compensation trends can you expect to see as the year progresses? At SHRM, Stephen Miller projected 2016 salary and benefit trends. Salary projections are summarized in this SHRM chart:
SHRM salary chart

Compensation Trends Information

Here are some resources that you can follow for past data and future compensation projections:

Follow employment cost trends at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, either nationally or by region. Refer to the Calendar for Schedule of releases

World at Work is another good resource to watch. They “a nonprofit human resources association for professionals and organizations focused on compensation, benefits, work-life effectiveness and total rewards.” Follow Salary Budget Surveys, their Newsline and their blog.


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