Employment costs for civilian workers increased 0.4%, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending in September 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Wages and salaries (which make up about 70% of the total compensation costs) increased 0.3% while benefits (which make up the remaining 30% of the total compensation cost) increased 0.6%.

For the 12-month period ending September 2010, compensation costs for civilian workers increased 1.9%. In September 2009, the increase was 1.5%. Wages and salaries increased 1.5% for the current 12-month period, the same as for the 12-month period ending in September 2009. Benefit costs accelerated to 2.7%, up from a 1.6% increase for the 12-month period ending September 2009.

Private Industry Workers

Compensation costs for private industry workers increased 2% for the 12-month period ending September 2010, higher than the 1.2% increase for the 12-month period ending September 2009. The wage and salary series increased 1.6% for the current 12-month period.

The change for the period ending September 2009 was 1.4%. The cost of benefits increased 2.8% for the 12-month period ending September 2010, higher than the September 2009 increase of 1.1%. Employer costs for health benefits rose 4.8% for the 12-month period ending September 2010. In September 2009, the 12-month percent change was 4.7%.

Among occupational groups, compensation cost increases for private industry workers for the 12-month period ending September 2010 ranged from 1.4% for service occupations to 2.5% for production, transportation, and material moving occupations.

Among industry super-sectors, compensation cost increases for private industry workers for the current 12-month period ranged from 1.1% for leisure and hospitality to 2.9% for manufacturing.

State and Local Government Workers

Compensation cost increases for State and local government workers decelerated to 1.7% for the 12-month period ending September 2010, down from 2.4% for the 12-month period ending September 2009. Prior to this quarter, published values for this series, which began in June 1982, ranged from 1.8% in June 2010 to 9.6% in June 1982.

The slowdown in compensation was due to wages and salaries, which increased 1.1%. Prior published values for this series, which also began in June 1982, ranged from 1.4% in June 2010 to 8.5% in June 1982. Benefit costs increased 2.7%. Prior published values for this series, which began in June 1990, ranged from 1.2% in December 1997 to 8.3% in June 1990.