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Employment Cost Index (ECI)

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Definition of 'Employment Cost Index (ECI)'

During the last week of the first month of the quarter the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) at the United States Department of Labor release the Employment Cost Index.

This quarterly economic series details the changes in the costs of labor for businesses in the United States economy.

Although the ECI is a widely watched series by the financial sector, it gets less press coverage than the more commonly quoted Consumer Price Index (CPI) (also prepared by the BLS).

The CPI measures inflation in consumer prices. The ECI measures inflation in employment costs (wages, salaries and employer-paid benefits). This is the broadest measure of labor costs.

This index is used in determining annual US government-employee salary adjustments through across-the-board General Schedule adjustments.

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