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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. For information on survey concepts, coverage,
methods, nonresponse adjustment, and imputation see National Compensation Measures Handbook of
Methods at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/ncs/home.htm.

Sample size
Data for this reference period were collected from a probability sample of approximately 23,400 
occupational observations selected from a sample of about 5,900 private industry establishments and
approximately 7,700 occupational observations selected from a sample of about 1,400 state and local
government establishments that provided data at the initial interview.

Standard errors
To assist users in ascertaining the reliability of ECI series, standard errors of all current quarter
not seasonally adjusted 3- and 12-month percent change series are also available, see
www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/ectvar.htm and the database query tool at www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/data.htm.
Standard errors provide users a measure of the precision of an estimate to ensure that it is within
an acceptable range for their intended purpose.

Historical listings
Historical listings are available at www.bls.gov/ect/#tables. The continuous occupational and
industry series listing uses the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Manual and Occupational
Classification System (OCS) series from 1975 through 2005 and the North American Industry 
Classification System (NAICS) and Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) from 2006 to the 
present. It provides the official series deemed continuous after the change in classification systems. 
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 are published as part of the Employer Costs for
Employee Compensation (ECEC) news release. The ECEC release dates are available at
www.bls.gov/schedule/news_release/ecec.htm. 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.

Fixed employment weights
For additional information on the use of fixed employment weights in computing the ECI, see
www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2016/article/introducing-2012-fixed-employment-weights-for-the-employment-cost-
index.htm.

Additional information
Starting with the ECI June 2021 release, the locations for the ECI supplemental tables have changed.
A full list of the changes is available at www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/notices/renaming-of-employment-cost
-index-table-webpages.htm. ECI release dates are available on the release calendar at www.bls.gov/
schedule/news_release/eci.htm. Subscribe to receive the BLS Economic News Release email at 
www.bls.gov/bls/list.htm.
Last Modified Date: April 08, 2024