Workplace

Wage costs are mostly flat for employers

Updated: 2013-05-01T04:34:16Z

By DIANE STAFFORD

The Kansas City Star

The cost to employers of employee pay and benefits grew 0.3 percent in the first quarter this year to stand 1.8 percent higher than a year earlier.

The government’s employment cost index, published Tuesday, said employers’ costs for civilian wages and salaries rose 1.6 percent over the 12 months ending in March 2013.

The amount employers paid for employee benefits rose 1.9 percent over the period, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

The increases in both pay and benefits costs were in line with the overall inflation rate, which has been equally modest.

The inflation rate in employer costs of employee compensation peaked at 4.4 percent in 2002. Since 2009, wage growth has flattened to the current weak rate, noted Maninder Sibia, economist with Contingent Macro Advisors. The data is “signaling (that the) job market will not contribute to inflation,” Sibia said.

The data showed that the increase in benefits costs paid by employers was the lowest since 1999.

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to stafford@kcstar.com.

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