Employers Spend More on Retirement than Health Benefits

But health benefits are quickly catching up

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U.S. employers spent nearly $8 trillion compensating workers in 2007. The majority, $6.4 trillion or 81 percent, went to pay wages and salaries. Benefits accounted for $1.5 trillion, according to a recent Employee Benefit Research Institute study.

Retirement benefits are employer’s largest benefits expenditures, accounting for 48 percent of the total spending for benefits. Companies spent 693.9 billion on employee retirement in 2007, up from 458.8 billion in 2000. Health benefits cost employers 623.1 billion in 2007 and made up 43 percent of benefit spending. All other benefits including unemployment insurance, life insurance, and workers’ compensation amounted to $138 billion.