Compensation & Benefits Library™ gives you accurate answers and practical guidance to help you design, analyze, compare, administer, and communicate compensation and benefits programs...
By Ben Penn
March 10 — Increases in wages and salaries outpaced growth in employer-provided benefits over the 12 months ended in the fourth quarter of 2015, the first time benefits trailed pay since 2012, a report from the Labor Department showed Dec. 9.
Average hourly benefits costs for full-time workers inched up 0.4 percent from a year earlier to $11.85 per hour, while pay climbed 2.1 percent to $25.44 per hour. Total compensation costs reached $37.28 in the fourth quarter, up 1.6 percent from a year earlier.
Prior to this report, benefits growth had outpaced the rate of wage hikes every quarter since the second quarter of 2012, Bloomberg BNA's analysis of the data showed.
The share of total compensation going to benefits fell to 31.8 percent, from 32.1 percent in the same period the prior year, while the share going to wages and salaries rose to 68.2 percent, from 67.9 percent. Benefits include health insurance, retirement plans and government-required contributions to social insurance.
Among all workers, including those employed part-time, total compensation increased 1.8 percent for nonunion workers over the 12 months ended in the fourth quarter while falling 2.6 percent for union employees.
Still, the average cost per hour of union workers was significantly greater than the cost for nonunion employees ($45.28 versus $30.38).
The disparity may reflect differences in the industry and occupational make-ups of the union and nonunion workforces, as well as the high proportion of nonunionized part-time workers, who are less likely than full-time employees to have employer-provided benefits.
Over the year ended in the fourth quarter, the cost of nonunion workers' benefits rose 0.3 percent, while their union counterparts' benefits cost fell 3.6 percent. Pay grew 2.4 percent for nonunion employees, while falling 2.0 percent for union-represented workers.
For more information, see Compensation and Benefits Library’s Bloomberg BNA's Wage Trend Indicator chapter.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Penn in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at email@example.com
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)