WASHINGTON Civilian employment costs surged a steeper-than-expected 0.7 percent in the second quarter, the biggest gain since September 2008, on a jump in benefits costs, Labor Department data showed on Friday.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected the Employment Cost Index to increase 0.5 percent in the three months ending in June, after a 0.6 percent rise in the prior quarter.
Benefits costs, which make up about 30 percent of compensation, grew 1.3 percent in the quarter, the biggest gain since June 2007. Wages and salaries expanded by 0.4 percent in the second quarter after increasing by the same amount in the first quarter.
Over 12 months, compensation costs rose 2.2 percent, the sharpest annual increase since December 2008.
(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)