Employment Costs Surge 0.8% in Third Quarter but Year-Over-Year Unchanged

Employee compensation, wages plus benefits, rose at the fastest pace since the recession.

The BLS Employment Compensation Index shows a surge in wages and benefits for the third quarter of 2018.

  • Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.8 percent, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending in September 2018.
  • Wages and salaries (which make up about 70 percent of compensation costs) increased 0.9 percent.
  • Benefit costs (which make up the remaining 30 percent of compensation) increased 0.4 percent from June 2018.

Civilian Workers

  • Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 2.8 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2018 compared with a compensation costs increase of 2.5 percent in September 2017.
  • Wages and salaries increased 2.9 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2018 and increased 2.5 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2017.
  • Benefit costs increased 2.6 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2018. In September 2017, the increase was 2.4 percent.

Civilian Workers

  • Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 2.8 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2018 compared with a compensation costs increase of 2.5 percent in September 2017.
  • Wages and salaries increased 2.9 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2018 and increased 2.5 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2017.
  • Benefit costs increased 2.6 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2018. In September 2017, the increase was 2.4 percent.

Private Industry Workers

  • Compensation costs for private industry workers increased 2.9 percent over the year and increased 2.5 percent in September 2017.
  • Wages and salaries increased 3.1 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2018 and increased 2.6 percent in September 2017.
  • The cost of benefits rose 2.5 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2018 and increased 2.4 percent in September 2017.

Private Industry Workers

  • Compensation costs for private industry workers increased 2.9 percent over the year and increased 2.5 percent in September 2017.
  • Wages and salaries increased 3.1 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2018 and increased 2.6 percent in September 2017.
  • The cost of benefits rose 2.5 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2018 and increased 2.4 percent in September 2017.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (2)
No. 1-2
Realist
Realist

Businesses are raising wages to try to attract skilled workers to fill empty jobs. Yet they cannot find the skilled workers needed. The answer is 1) train the unskilled, 2) increase immigration of skilled workers, 3) some combination.

AWC
AWC

The Fed was right on. This economy is now into overheat mode. Wages are a lagging indicator, and now catching up. Business Cycle, as usual.