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By Kimberley Donoghue
PBN Web Editor
BOSTON – Total employee compensation costs in March were highest in New England, at $33.56 per hour, according to private industry data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Monday.
While New England was the most costly of the nation’s nine geographic areas, East South Central was the least costly, at $22.65 per hour, according to the data on Employer Costs for Employee Compensation based on the National Compensation Survey.
The survey, which measures employer costs for wages, salaries and employee benefits, said that overall, private industry employers averaged $28.10 per hour in the U.S. for March.
In New England, $23.64, or 70.5 percent of the total hourly compensation costs, was spent on wages and salaries, while $9.91, or 29.5 percent, went toward employee benefits. Comparatively, the U.S. average was split 70.7 percent toward wages and salaries and 29.3 percent toward benefits.
The highest-cost benefits were health insurance, $2.48 per hour, and Social Security and Medicare, at $1.97, while the federal unemployment insurance was 3 cents per hour.
When comparing the four U.S. regions - the nine divisions are components of the regions - the Northeast, which includes New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania as well as New England, had the highest average compensation costs at $32.16, while the South had the lowest at $24.93.