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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Average employee cost: $27/hour

By Diane Stafford
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

KANSAS CITY, Mo. It cost U.S. employers an average of $27.31 for each employee hour worked in September, the U.S. Department of Labor reported last week.

Of that total, wages and salaries averaged $19.12 an hour per employee, representing 70 percent of employers' total employment costs.

The cost of employer-paid benefits averaged $8.18 per employee hour, accounting for the remaining 30 percent of total employment costs.

What employers paid for benefits broke down this way:

  • For health, life and disability insurance benefits, an average of $2.22 per employee hour, or 8.1 percent of total compensation costs.

  • For legally required benefits, including Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance and workers' compensation, an average of $2.19 per employee hour, or 8 percent of total costs.

  • For paid-leave benefits, such as vacations, holidays, sick leaves and other leaves, an average of $1.91 per employee hour, or 7 percent of total costs.

  • For retirement and savings benefits, an average of $1.18 per employee hour, or 4.3 percent of total costs.

    The averages were pushed higher by better average pay and benefits in state and local government jobs than in the private sector.

    For example, employer costs in state and local governments averaged $37.91 per employee hour worked, compared with an average of $25.52 for private industry employer compensation costs.

    In state and local governments, benefits accounted for 32.7 percent of employer costs, compared with 29.3 percent in private industry.