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March 19, 2013

Northeast Leads U.S. In Worker Costs

Employers in the Northeast pay the highest costs for employee compensation than any other region of the United States, exceeding the national average by 15 percent, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Hourly costs per employee in the Northeast – which includes the New England states, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania – averaged $33.10 in December, higher than the national average of $28.89. The next costliest region was the West, which consists of the mountain and Pacific coast states, at $30.29.

The average hourly wage in the Northeast was $22.85, while the average per-hour employer cost in benefits was $10.25, both the highest in the U.S.

The New England states had higher costs than the other three Northeast states, with an average hourly wage of $34.77 and an average hourly benefits cost of $10.48, the government said.

Nationwide, hourly compensation rose 1.9 percent during 2012.

According to Rick Sanborn, an economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, total benefit costs in December within New England were comprised, primarily, of the following categories:

  • Insurance (which included life, health, short- and long-term disability insurance), $2.85 per hour worked;
  • Legally required benefits (which included Social Security and Medicare), $2.77 per hour; and
  • Paid leave (which included vacation, holiday, sick and personal leave categories), $2.53 per hour.

Retirement and savings added another $1.38 per hour, Sanborn said.

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