By Brai Odion-Esene

WASHINGTON (MNI) – Compensation costs in the U.S. for civilian
workers increased as expected, 0.4% seasonally adjusted for the third
quarter, a 2.0% gain over a year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported Wednesday.

The second quarter increase of 0.5% was not revised, and in fact,
the ECI unadjusted numbers are never revised because, as a BLS economist
once told MNI, “we have nothing to revise them against.”

Benefits, which are more volatile, rose 0.8% in the third quarter
vs. 0.6% in the second and are up 2.6% over a year.

Overall wages and salaries alone rose 0.3%, down from the 0.4%
increase in the second quarter, and have risen 1.7% in a year. Wages and
salaries make up about 70% of compensation and benefits the rest.

Private compensation also rose 0.4% in the third quarter versus
0.5% in the second, and is up 2.0% in a year. Private wages and salaries
rose 0.4%, the same as the second quarter, and private benefits rose
0.7%, up 2.3% in a year.

The BLS also breaks out state and local compensation, up just 0.3%
in the second quarter and 1.8% on an annual basis.

Expectations in a Market News International survey centered on
a +0.4% increase in the third quarter ECI compared to the first

** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **