Today’s manufacturing employees earn higher wages and receive more generous benefits than other working Americans. In the fourth quarter of 2013, manufacturing employers paid $33.93 per hour in wages and benefits, while all employers in the economy paid $31.15 per hour, meaning that there is a 8.9 percent premium for working in manufacturing.

Most of the difference in compensation is due to the fact that manufacturers provide a higher level of benefits for workers than do other industries, including for paid leave, supplemental pay, and insurance. Although manufacturers are making workers more responsible for their own healthcare costs (as seen in other industries), employer-provided healthcare payments continue to grow faster than wages and salaries. Healthcare contributions by manufacturing employers increased 43 percent from 9 years ago but only had a 245 percent gain in wage and salary costs per hour over the same time period. Employer-provided healthcare imposes a significant disadvantage to manufacturing industries that have to compete internationally with countries where healthcare is paid for by general tax revenues.

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