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Economic News Release
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Employment Cost Index technical note


                                      TECHNICAL NOTE

      The Employment Cost Index (ECI) measures the change in the cost of labor, free from the 
influence of employment shifts among occupations and industries. Detailed information on survey 
concepts, coverage, and methods can be found in BLS Handbook of Methods, Chapter 8, “National 
Compensation Measures,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, on the Internet at 
www.bls.gov/opub/hom/pdf/homch8.pdf.

Sample size

      Data for the June 2012 reference period were collected from a probability sample of 
approximately 47,400 occupational observations selected from a sample of about 9,500 establishments in 
private industry and approximately 9,200 occupations from a sample of about 1,400 establishments in 
state and local governments.

Health insurance data

      Data from the ECI that provide 12-month percent changes in employer costs for health insurance 
in private industry are available at www.bls.gov/ect/sp/echealth.pdf.

Historical listings

      Historical listings that provide all ECI data are available at www.bls.gov/ect/#tables. Included 
among these listings is one that provides continuous occupational and industry series. This listing uses 
the Standard Industrial Classification Manual and Census of Population series through 2005 and the 
North American Industry Classification System and Standard Occupational Classification from 2006 to 
the present. It provides the official series from the beginning of the ECI in 1975 through the current 
quarter. For more information on the criteria used in defining continuous series, see the article published 
in the Monthly Labor Review at www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2006/04/art2full.pdf.

Employer Costs for Employee Compensation data

      The costs per hour worked of compensation components, based on data from the ECI, are 
published in a separate news release titled "Employer Costs for Employee Compensation" (ECEC). The 
next ECEC release is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. (EDT), Tuesday, September 11, 2012. Historical ECEC 
data are available in summary documents at www.bls.gov/ect/#tables. Since the ECEC is calculated with 
current employment weights rather than the fixed weights used in computing the ECI, year-to-year 
changes in the cost levels usually differ from those in the ECI.

Table of Contents

Last Modified Date: October 27, 2020