News Artcle

U.S. employment costs climb 0.5% in 4th quarter

Published January 31, 2013

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The employment cost index measuring the price of U.S. labor rose a mild 0.5% in the fourth quarter, seasonally adjusted, the Labor Department said Thursday. That matched the forecast of economists surveyed by MarketWatch. The ECI is a closely followed index that reflects how much companies, governments and nonprofit institutions pay their employees in wages and benefits. Wages - some 70% of employment costs - rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in the fourth quarter and benefits were up 0.6%. Total employment costs grew at the same pace over the past 12 months for private-sector and government workers alike. For all of 2012, employments costs climbed an unadjusted 1.9%, down slightly from 2.0% in 2011. Wages increased an unadjusted 1.7% vs. 1.4% in 2011. Benefits posted a 2.5% gain over the past 12 months, down from 3.2% in 2011. The decline in benefits growth is evidence that the cost of health care for companies didn't increase as quickly last year.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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