Recession caused workers’ comp costs to drop: report

August 17, 2011

Washington – Workers’ compensation costs for employers declined 7.6 percent in 2009 and the number of workers covered fell 4.4 percent, which a new report attributes to the recent recession.

The National Academy of Social Insurance’s annual workers’ comp report (.pdf file) notes that the decline in employer costs to $73.9 billion in 2009 from $79.9 billion the previous year is the largest percentage drop since 1987. Additionally, as a share of covered wages, employers’ costs in 2009 were lower than any other year since 1980. The number of covered workers also fell to 124,856 in 2009 from 130,643 the previous year – the greatest decline in the past two decades.

“As one might expect, when the ‘Great Recession’ hit, employers paid less in workers’ compensation costs because there were fewer workers to cover,” report oversight panel chair John F. Burton Jr. said in a press release.

The United States officially was in a recession for 18 months – between December 2007 and June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the organization that provides the national designation of recession.