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Economy in Brief

U.S. Employment Cost Index Rise Remains Moderate
by Tom Moeller  January 31, 2013

The employment cost index for private industry workers rose 0.5% in Q4'12 versus an unrevised 0.4% Q3 rise. The latest increase in total compensation matched expectations as compiled by Bloomberg. The full-year rise of 1.9% was down from the 2012 increase of 2.2%.

The increase in private sector wages & salaries slipped to 0.3% (1.7% y/y). Amongst industry groups, wages in the financial industry rose 1.9% over the last four quarters, education & health services industries rose 1.7% y/y while professional & business services wages rose 2.0% y/y. Wages in leisure & hospitality industries rose an improved 1.1% y/y. State & local government workers saw a 1.1% rise in wages last year.

Benefit cost increases continued moderate and they rose 0.6% (2.0% y/y). Benefits amongst goods-producing workers rose 1.4% y/y but for service-producing industry workers they rose a lessened 2.6% y/y. State & local government sector workers realized an improved 3.4% four-quarter rise in benefits.

The employment cost index figures are available in Haver's USECON database. 

ECI- Private Industry Workers (%) Q4'12 Q3'12 Q2'12 Q4 Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Compensation 0.5 0.4 0.5 1.9 1.9 2.2 1.9
 Wages & Salaries 0.3 0.4 0.4 1.7 1.8 1.7 1.6
 Benefit Costs 0.6 0.7 0.6 2.2 2.4 3.4 2.6
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