Employment Costs Rise Less Than Expected in First Quarter


The U.S. Employment Cost Index in the first quarter of 2013 is looking very tame, and the so-called wage inflation is running very low. The Labor Department showed that the first-quarter benefits and pay rose by only 0.3%. Dow Jones and Bloomberg were both calling for a gain of 0.5%. But there was an error reported in the data that makes some of the data harder to review in detail.

Over the year, on a seasonally adjusted rate, compensation rose by 1.8%, wages and salaries rose by 1.6% and benefits rose by 1.9%. Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.3%.

As far as the error is concerned, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said:

BLS has discovered an error in the benefits data for March 2013 primarily affecting private industry benefits data for sales and office occupations. As a result, benefits estimates for March 2013 have been temporarily suppressed for sales and office occupations found in tables 3 and 12 of this news release. Other benefit and compensation data may also be affected by this error.

This report is unlikely to move the needle for the stock and bond markets this Tuesday, compared to other earnings and data. So far we have the S&P 500 futures down almost two points and DJIA futures are up one point.


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