U.S. Chamber study: Employee benefit costs continue to rise

Steve Gonzalez Feb. 22, 2007, 3:00am

WASHINGTON, DC -- Employee benefit costs swelled again in 2005 and now account for more than 44 percent of payroll expenses, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's annual Employee Benefits Study.

Employee benefits, as a percent of payroll, have risen 4 percentage points over the past year.

"This survey trend confirms, once again, that employers continue to step up and provide much needed benefits packages even as the cost continues to rise year over year," said Randel Johnson, Chamber vice president for Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits, in a press release.

According to the study, medically-related expenses cost employers $5,924 per employee, or 14.5% of payroll, up from 11.9% cited in last year's Employee Benefits Study. Payments for time not worked, such as paid holidays and paid time off, increased by 0.6% to 11.1% of payroll expenditures.

Retirement expenditures increased slightly to 8.6% of payroll, or $3,612 per employee annually. Nonprofit firms spent on average 34.8% of total payroll on benefits, considerably less for than their for-profit counterparts.

Companies in metropolitan areas spent $1,000 more per employee for paid time off and retirement payments than companies in non-metro areas. Metropolitan area firms also outspent non-metro companies in medical benefits payments by nearly $500 per employee.

Nearly 400 U.S. companies participated in the study, and more than 30 different types of benefits were analyzed by industry, company size, geographic region, and for-profit or nonprofit status.

The Chamber, through its Statistics and Research Center, has conducted the annual survey for more than 40 years. The survey publication is available at www.uschamber.com.

The Madison County Record is owned by the Institute for Legal Reform, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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