Magazine article Workforce Management

A Better Year for Budgets

Magazine article Workforce Management

A Better Year for Budgets

Article excerpt

DATA BANK | Research & analysis by Fay Hansen

WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT executives planning their 2008 budgets will be able to work with greater flexibility than they have had for more than a decade. By any number of measures, wages are still relatively flat and benefit cost increases are falling. For the 1 2 months that ended in March 2007, benefit cost increases for private-industry employers slipped below the overall rate of inflation for the first time in 10 years.

Lower pension contributions and higher health care cost shifting have now aligned to reduce the rate of increase for overall benefit costs. Private-industry employers' costs per hour worked for health insurance for nonunion workers rose 6 percent from Q1 2006 through Q1 2007, down from 6.3 percent for the comparable period a year earlier. Cost increases for private-industry unionized workers averaged 8.2 percent for the same period, substantially higher than the nonunion sector. For the three years ending Q1 2007, private nonunion health insurance costs rose 18. …

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