New Benefits Data Shows Why People Hate Public Sector Unions

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Photo: AP

From the BLS’s latest report on employment costs, two interesting nuggets.First, benefit costs are quickly outstripping income gains:

Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.6 per cent, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending March 2011, the U.S. Bureau of labour Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries (which make up about 70 per cent of compensation costs) increased 0.4 per cent, and benefits (which make up the remaining 30 per cent of compensation) increased 1.1 per cent.

So benefits were up 1.1% vs. 0.4% for wages and salaries.

But then get this:

Compensation costs for State and local government workers increased 1.8 per cent for the 12-month period ending March 2011, compared to the 2.0 per cent for the 12-month period ending March 2010. Prior to this quarter, values for this series–which began in June 1982–ranged from 1.7 per cent in June 2010 to 9.6 per cent in June 1982. Wages and salaries increased 1.2 per cent for the 12-month period ending March 2011. A year earlier the increase was 1.6 per cent. Prior values for this series, which also began in June 1982, ranged from 1.2 per cent in September and December 2010 to 8.5 per cent in June 1982. Benefit costs increased 3.3 per cent, up from 2.5 per cent in March 2010. Prior values for this series, which began in June 1990, ranged from 1.2 per cent in December 1997 to 8.3 per cent in June 1990.

So benefits for public sector workers grew 3.3%. For the private sector it was 1.1%. Got it?

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