Employment Cost Index (ECI)


The employment cost index refers to a quarterly series of data outlining the change in cost for labor in the United States. The employment cost index is published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


A price index is a benchmark measure that allows analysts to understand how the price of goods and / or services varies over time or between geographies. Broad based indices allow economists to understand how well an economy is performing and the impact of prices on the cost of living. The employment cost index (ECI) tracks changes in the cost of labor in the United States. The metric is an indicator of employment costs, so it's also used as a measure of wage inflation and employer-provided benefits.

The ECI is part of a series of publications that provide insights into wages, which also includes the National Compensation Survey (NCS) and Employment Cost Trends (ECT). The ECI filters out changes in employment between industries and occupations, and it only measures labor costs. The metric does not account for stock options; however, data is available for wages with and without incentive compensation.

The ECI is published on a quarterly basis, and it uses the pay period that occurs on the 12th day of March, June, September, and December. Data is published on a one-month lag, meaning the information is made available to the public in April, July, October, and January.

Related Terms

producer price indexprice indexInternational Comparison Programimport and export price indexGDP deflator, consumer price index