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Economy in Brief

Employment Cost Index Accelerated Further
by Tom Moeller October 31, 2006

The employment cost index for private industry workers increased 0.9% last quarter, as expected, following the unrevised 0.8% increase during 2Q. Both increases were up from a 0.6% 1Q gain

The gain raised the year to year increase to 3.02%, the fastest since the second quarter of 2005.

Wages & salary growth moderated slightly to 0.8% following the quick 0.9% rise during 2Q. The year to year rise of 3.1% was the fastest since 2002. Factory sector wages grew a more moderate 0.3% (NSA, 2.3% y/y) but wages in the service-producing industries grew a firmer 1.0% (3.2% y/y), the fastest in three years.

Benefit costs in private industry grew 1.0% reflecting a quickened 1.0% (0.5% y/y) rise in the factory sector and a 1.0% (3.6% y/y) rise in service industries.

The 12-month gain in health insurance benefits eased to 4.9% from a 6.4% increase during 2005 and a 7.3% rise during 2004.

To view the latest release with all the industry detail visit BLS site.

ECI- Private Industry Workers 3Q '06 2Q '06 Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Compensation 0.9% 0.8% 3.0% 3.0% 3.7% 4.0%
  Wages & Salaries 0.8% 0.9% 3.1% 2.5% 2.7% 3.0%
  Benefit Costs 1.0% 0.7% 2.9% 4.0% 6.6% 6.5%
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