Workers' compensation

Increase in workers’ comp costs signals recovering economy, report claims

WC chart - Aug13

Source: National Academy of Social Insurance

Washington – Workers’ compensation costs have increased for the first time in half a decade, indicating a recovering economy, according to a National Academy of Social Insurance report released Aug. 20.

Employer costs rose to $1.27 per $100 of covered wages in 2011 from $1.24 in 2010 following five years of decline. The overall employer cost was $77.1 billion, a 7.1 percent increase from 2010. The number of workers covered grew 1.1 percent between 2010 and 2011.


“The increase in workers’ compensation costs and coverage reflects, at least in part, the U.S. economy on its way to recovery with slow but positive employment and wage growth,” the report states.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • The total benefits paid out in 2011 were $60.2 billion, a 3.5 percent increase from 2010. However, the benefits paid out per $100 of coverage wages – $1 – was the same in both years.
  • All 50 states showed an increase in 2011 of both covered workers and dollars of covered wages.
  • For the third straight year nationally, more benefits have been paid out for medical than for cash reimbursement. Additionally in 2011, the share of medical benefits exceeded 50 percent in 33 states.