In a season of sometimes gloomy news in the construction industry, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting that wages, salaries, and benefits saw a nearly 1% increase during the final quarter of last year.
That 0.7% improvement is particularly strong when compared to the 0.3% increase recorded in the third quarter of last year.
Overall, says the BLS, compensation increased by 2.4% for the entire year of 2020, although that number was less than pre-Covid year of 2019, which saw a 3.5% increase.
The 2020 fourth quarter numbers, while an improvement over last summer’s figures, were also down from what was recorded during the October to December period of 2019, which saw a 0.9% gain.
While actual wage and salary levels have charted a rocky path, benefit costs remained fairly steady for most of 2020, posting a 0.6% gain in the final quarter.
The BLS numbers are crunched from a survey of 6,000 businesses, as well as 1,400 state and local government resource points.
Continues the report: “Among private industry occupational groups, compensation cost increases for the 12-month period ending in December 2020 ranged from 2.0% for management, professional, and related occupations, to 3.6% for service occupations.”
According to an analysis of the new BLS figures compiled by the Associated General Contractors, the industry last year increasingly saw a rise in wages that was not always in keeping with benefit costs trend lines.
Taken all together, the average private sector employee earned just over $30 an hour last year.
By Garry Boulard
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