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August 02, 2007

Worker benefits

When people consider new jobs, they naturally ask about the pay, and they also want to know about the benefits. N.C. State University's Mike Walden says that the value of these benefits is rising.

"The benefits component of what we in essence get paid has been rising. And so it is important for, I think, workers to know what are these benefits and how they are changing," says Dr. Walden, a professor of agricultural and resource economics. "Actually the largest component -- the single largest component -- of worker benefits are employer contributions to Social Security and Medicare. They make up over a quarter -– exactly 27 percent -- of all company or all job benefits.

"Next in line comes health insurance at 26 percent, and indeed this component has been rising quite a lot.

"Third in line comes probably the benefit that most of us most think about -- and perhaps many people ask about -- when they are considering a job, and that is vacation leave. Vacation leave accounts now for about 23 percent of all worker benefits," Walden adds.

"And then finally, coming in at the rear but still important, [are] the contributions that companies make to the worker’s retirement. That accounts for 14 percent.

"And, again, this is all important because company benefits -- worker benefits -- have actually been rising faster than salaries, and so when a worker looks at a job they need to account not only for those salaries and wages they earn but also the value of the benefits."

Posted by deeshore at August 2, 2007 09:03 AM