The U.S. Labor Department said the cost of labor in the 12 months ending Sept. 30 rose 2 percent in the private sector.
For the third quarter, compensation costs rose 0.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis with wages and salaries -- which makes up the bulk of compensation -- up 0.3 percent and the cost of benefits, about 30 percent of compensation, rising 0.8 percent.
On an annual basis, the rising cost of salaries have held nearly steady. For the 12-month period covered in the report, salaries rose 1.7 percent. The 12-month inflation rate for salaries in September 2011 was 1.6 percent.
The cost of benefits on an annual basis, however, has dropped.
The annual inflation rate for benefits in September 2011 was 3.3 percent. By September 2012, that had dropped to 2.3 percent.
The annual inflation rate for health benefits dropped slightly, falling from 3.4 percent in September 2011 to 3 percent in September 2012.
The rising cost of labor was different among occupation groups with the 12-month inflation rate for compensating production, transportation, material handling and service workers up 1.7 percent, while compensation costs involving office and sales staff rose 2.4 percent.
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