Average Hourly Benefits

  • Lawrence H. Officer


Although by no means perfect, the benefits data situation for 1929–2006 is much superior to that of the pre-1929 period. Recall that that a gross-earnings rather than regular-earnings concept is used for average hourly earnings (AHE), wherefore average hourly benefits (AHB) are residual in nature (see chapter 1, Gross Earnings versus Regular Earnings). The technique of constructing AHB involves estimating the proportion mark-up of benefits over earnings (PM p , the ratio of benefits to earnings, with subscript p denoting production workers in manufacturing) and then multiplying AHE by this ratio to obtain AHB, which is benefits per work-hour. Sources of benefits data in manufacturing are discussed in chapter 2, Benefits, especially table 2.4. Census data combine production with nonproduction workers and are available only for limited years. Therefore, to construct PM p , one begins with Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC) series (expressed as dollars per hour worked); but two adjustments to these series are required. First, quarterly wages and benefits are averaged to obtain annual figures (North American Industry Classification System [NAICS], 2004–2006; Standard Industrial Classification System [SIC], 2002–2003). Second, net earnings and total benefits are converted to gross earnings and residual benefits (all workers: SIC, 1986–1988; NAICS, 2004–2006; production workers: SIC, 1988–2003; NAICS, 4Q 2006-3Q 2007).


Pension Plan North American Industry Classification System Employer Contribution Compensation Benefit Covered Worker 
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© Lawrence H. Officer 2009

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  • Lawrence H. Officer

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