The National Compensation Survey: A Wealth of Benefits Data: The BLS National Compensation Survey Provides an Array of Benefits Data: In 2003, for the First Time, Information Is Available on the Percentages of Establishments Offering Health Insurance and Retirement Plans, and the Percentage of Medical Premiums Paid by Employers and Employees
Blostin, Allan P., Monthly Labor Review
The creation of the Bureau of Labor Statistics National Compensation Survey (NCS) has been a comprehensive effort to provide data on wages, costs, and benefits, all within one survey program. NCS outputs include the Employment Cost Index (ECI), which measures the change in employer costs for wages, salaries, and benefits; and the Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC), which measures the average employer cost per employee hour worked for wages, salaries, and benefits. Both ECI and ECEC are published quarterly. (1) The NCS of Occupational Wages in the United States provides earnings data in a variety of occupations in different metropolitan areas nationwide, a few nonmetropolitan counties, nine census divisions, and for the Nation as a whole. (2)
The NCS also provides data on the incidence and detailed provisions for medical, dental, and vision care; private retirement plans; and other benefits for employees in all sizes of establishments. (3) A major goal of the NCS is to produce data linking information on benefit plan details to wages and employer benefit plan costs. The forerunner of the NCS benefits portion was the Employee Benefits Survey (EBS). Before the advent of the NCS, the EBS had provided data on the incidence and detailed provisions of selected benefits for different sectors of the economy in alternating years. Medium and large private establishments--those establishments of 100 workers or more--were studied in odd years; small private establishments--those establishments of fewer than 100 workers--and State and local governments were studied in even years. (4) Exhibit 1 shows the transition from the EBS to the NCS. The series of articles
appearing in this issue of the Monthly Labor Review cover a broad spectrum of topics highlighting the NCS benefits products.
Exhibit 1. Transition from the Employee Benefits Survey to the National Compensation Survey (NCS) Year Coverage Publication and products 1996-98 All employees Employee Benefits in Small Private in private Establishments, 1996 establishments Employee Benefits in Medium and Large and State and Private Establishments, 1997 local Employee Benefits in Stare and Local governments Governments, 1998 Incidence and detailed provisions for health insurance; retirement benefits; other insurance benefits; paid leave; and incidence of coverage for emerging benefits 1999 All employees in Employee Benefits in Private Industry, the private sector 1999 Incidence of coverage for health insurance; retirement benefits; other insurance benefits; paid leave and emerging benefits; and employee contributions for medical insurance 2000 All employees in National Compensation Survey: Employee the private sector Benefits in Private Industry in the United States, 2000 Incidence and detailed provisions for health insurance and retirement benefits; and incidence of coverage for other insurance benefits, paid leave, and emerging benefits 2003 (1) All employees in National Compensation Survey: Employee the private sector Benefits in Private Industry in the United States, 2003 Incidence and detailed provisions for health insurance; retirement benefits; other insurance benefits; paid leave; and incidence of coverage for emerging benefits Year Coverage New NCS outputs 1996-98 All employees Not applicable in private establishments and State and local governments 1999 All employees in Data are tabulated by various worker the private sector and establishment characteristics such as occupations, union status, full- time and part-time status, size of establishment, geographic region, goods producing and service producing industries, all within one table 2000 All employees in The first NCS bulletin describing the private sector detailed provisions on health and retirement benefits 2003 (1) All employees in The major first-time outputs consist the private sector of: * the percentage of establishments offering health insurance and retirement benefits; * the percentage of workers that are offered health insurance, retirement benefits, and other insurance benefits; * the percentage of total medical premiums paid by employers and employees; and * characteristics of cash balance plans (a new type of defined benefits plan). …