The National Compensation Survey (NCS) provides comprehensive measures of occupational wages; employment cost trends, and benefit incidence and detailed plan provisions. Detailed occupational earnings are available for metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas, broad geographic regions, and on a national basis. The index component of the NCS (ECI) measures changes in labor costs. Average hourly employer cost for employee compensation is presented in the ECEC.

NCS News Releases

Employee Benefits in the United States

August 07, 2008
Two-thirds of private industry and State and local government workers had access to retirement benefits and nearly three-quarters to medical care in March 2008. Access and participation in retirement and medical care benefits were greater in government than in private industry. More...

Employment Cost Index (ECI)

October 31, 2008
Total compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.7 percent, seasonally adjusted, from June to September 2008, the same as the increase in the previous two quarters. For the year ended September 2008, compensation costs rose 2.9 percent. The 12-month increase for September 2007 was 3.3 percent. More...

Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC)

December 10, 2008
Benefits for state and local government employees cost an average of $13.41 per hour worked in September 2008, $4.21 of which was for health insurance. Employer costs for civilian workers averaged $28.87 per hour worked; $20.13 for wages and salaries and $8.74 for benefits. More...

Current NCS News Releases


NCS Databases


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National Compensation Survey
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Pay & Cost of Benefits
Employment Cost Index
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Employer Cost for Employee Compensation
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Benefit Incidence & Provisions
Employee Benefits Survey
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More Tools

  • Series Report —Already know the series identifier for the statistic you want? Use this shortcut to retrieve your data.
  • National Compensation Search--allows you to search through all the National Compensation Survey publications that are currently available electronically.

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Featured NCS Tables

  • ECI Current-Dollar Historical Listings
  • ECI Constant-Dollar Historical Listings
  • ECI Selected Metropolitan Areas (PDF 31K)
  • ECI Standard Errors
  • ECEC Historical Listing, 2004 to present (Quarterly)-Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (TXT) (PDF 780K) -- Quarterly estimates from March 2004 to the present, with sample establishments classified by industry categories based on the new 2002 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and the 2000 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system.

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NCS Publications


NCS Frequently Asked Questions


NCS Special Notice

  • ECI estimates for private industry for 14 individual localities (introduced last quarter) will be released for the reference period September 2008 on Thursday, November 20, 2008. For each locality, two estimates are provided: 12-month percent change for total compensation and 12-month percent change for wages and salaries. The data will be available at as well as in news releases for each area. The regional news releases providing ECI estimates for the four regions and nine census divisions have been discontinued. However, those estimates are still included in tables 6 and 10 of the "Employment Cost Index" news release. For additional information, see "BLS Introduces New Employment Cost Indexes for 14 Metropolitan Areas," at

Related Links to Other BLS Programs

  • Employment Cost Trends—quarterly indexes measuring change over time in labor costs and quarterly data measuring level of average costs per hour worked.
  • Benefits—comprehensive data on incidence and provisions of selected employee benefit plans.
  • Occupational Employment Statistics—data on employment and wages for over 800 occupations and for about 400 nonfarm industries for the nation, plus occupational data for States and metropolitan areas.
  • Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages —comprehensive employment and wage data by industry and geographic area for workers covered by State Unemployment Insurance laws.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook—provides data for 250 occupations, by nature of the work, working conditions, employment, job outlook and earnings, related occupations, sources of additional information, and training, other qualifications, and advancement.
  • Collective Bargaining Agreements—data on major work stoppages (lockouts and strikes) and a file of collective bargaining agreements.

Other Useful Links


Contact Us


The Office of Compensation Levels and Trends, Branch of Survey Information and Publications, will be glad to assist you with questions about any of the components of the National Compensation Survey.

Ways to Contact BLS Directly

Email: Contact us

Telephone: (202) 691-6199 (Monday - Friday, 8:30 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.)

Question-by-FAX: (202) 691-6647

Information and assistance is also available from any BLS regional office.


Information voice phone: (202) 691-5200 The Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339

Write or Personal Visit

Bureau of Labor Statistics
2 Massachusetts Ave., N.E. - Suite 4175
Washington, D.C. 20212-0001

Other Ways to Access our Data:


Federal Depository Libraries provide free access to government documents. Many of these libraries receive BLS publications. Check with a location near you.

To Order Publications

Copies for purchase:


GPO Superintendent of Documents
P.O. Box 371954
Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954
(202) 512-1800