US: Employment cost index rises 0.7% in Q4 vs 0.8% expected

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“Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.7 percent, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending in December 2018,” the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Thursday.

Key takeaways from the press release

  • Wages and salaries (which make  up about 70 percent of compensation costs) increased 0.6 percent and benefit costs (which make up the remaining 30 percent of compensation) increased 0.7 percent from September 2018. 
  • Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 2.9 percent for the 12-month period ending in December 2018.
  • Compensation costs for private industry workers increased 3.0 percent over the year compared with an increase of 2.6 percent in December 2017.