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Economy in Brief

U.S. Employment Cost Index Includes Strength in Wages & Salaries
by Tom Moeller  January 31, 2014

The employment cost index for private industry workers increased 0.5% (2.0% y/y) in Q4'13, following an unrevised 0.4% rise in Q3. For all of last year the index rose 1.9%.

Wages & salaries of private industry workers gained 0.6% (1.8% y/y), twice the Q3 rise. Financial activities workers realized a 0.8% increase (2.8% y/y) while retail trade workers saw a 0.7% raise (2.2% y/y). Manufacturing sector workers came home with a 0.5% rise in wages (2.1% y/y) while education & health care workers had a 0.4% rise (1.8% y/y) in pay. Workers in the information sector saw wages fall 0.3% (+1.1% y/y).

Benefit costs increased 0.5% (1.9% y/y). Factory sector benefits gained 0.7% (1.4% y/y). Service occupations workers had a 0.6% rise (1.5% y/y) in benefits while production transportation & materials moving workers also saw 0.5% growth (1.3% y/y). Management & professional workers realized 0.5% growth (1.3% y/y).

Total compensation for state & local government workers rose 0.7% (1.8% y/y). That reflected a 0.7% rise (2.2% y/y) for public administration workers and a 0.6% gain (2.3% y/y) in health care & social services.

The employment cost index figures are available in Haver's USECON database. Consensus estimates come from the Action Economics survey, carried in Haver's AS1REPNA database. 

ECI- Private Industry Workers (%) Q4'13 Q3'13 Q2'13 Q4 Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Compensation 0.5 0.4 0.6 2.0 1.9 1.9 2.2
 Wages & Salaries 0.6 0.3 0.6 2.1 1.9 1.8 1.7
 Benefit Costs 0.5 0.6 0.4 1.9 2.0 2.2 3.4
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