(CN) — Employment costs paid to civilian workers in the United States rose at a slightly faster pace in the first quarter of 2016 than at the end of last year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says compensation costs for this category of workers increased a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent between January and March.
The same costs rose 0.5 percent in the final three months of 2015.
Wages and salaries, which account for 70 percent of compensation costs, rose 0.7 percent in the first quarter compared to a 0.5 percent advance in the fourth quarter.
Benefits costs, which cover pensions and health insurance, increased 0.5 percent in the first quarter, down from a previous 0.6 percent increase.
The agency also found compensation costs for civilian workers increased 1.9 percent for the 12-month period ending in March 2016.
Compensation costs for private industry workers, meanwhile increased 1.8 percent over the year, lower than the March 2015 increase of 2.8 percent.
Employer costs for health benefits increased 3.3 percent for the 12-month period ending in March 2016, and increased 2.5 percent in March 2015.
Among occupational groups, compensation cost increases for private industry workers for the 12-month period ending in March 2016 ranged from 1.4 percent for sales and office occupations to 2.5 percent for production, transportation, and material moving occupations.
As for the public sector, compensation costs for state and local government workers increased 2.4 percent for the 12-month period ending in March 2016, the agency said.