Workers’ Compensation Resources Research Report, Issue 6 May 2013

Workers’ Compensation Resources Research Report, Issue 6 May 2013

An order blank for Issue 6 of the WCRRR can be obtained by writing to John F. Burton, Jr. at JBWCR@aol.com.

Issue 6 of the Workers' Compensation Resources Research Report (WCRRR) examines the employers' costs of workers' compensation. Part I relies on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to examined national trends from 1986 to 2012. For private-sector employers, costs dropped for the seventh year in a row and represented 1.80 percent of payroll in 2012, the lowest figure since 1986. For all non-federal employers, costs of workers' compensation dropped to 1.79 percent of payroll in 2012, the lowest figure since the data series began in 1991.

Part II examines BLS data on the differences in the employers' costs of workers' compensation due to factors such as geographical location, industry, union status, and occupations of the firm's employees. The variations of workers' compensation costs among industries were significant in 2012, ranging from 4.47 percent of payroll in construction to 0.63 percent of payroll in the financial industry.

Part III provides state-level data on the employers' costs of workers' compensation from two sources: employer costs as a percent of payroll as reported by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) and premium rates as a percent of payroll as measured by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (Oregon). For some states, the NASI and Oregon data are similar: for example, both measures indicate that California costs were 131 percent of the national median of costs in 2010. But there were 25 states where the two measures of employers' costs of workers' compensation differed by 20 percent or more. This is one reason, among others presented in Part III, why interstate comparisons of the employers' costs of workers' compensation must be done cautiously or even avoided.