© Copyright 2003 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning

Employee Benefits in Wyoming: 2001

Section I: Purpose

This publication complements the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Wage Survey Research & Planning (R&P) conducts annually. Together, these efforts assist employers and employees in determining whether they are providing or receiving competitive compensation (wages and benefits). Employee benefits include paid leave, insurance, retirement plans, and miscellaneous benefits. The Benefits Survey questionnaires were mailed quarterly in 2001. We thank all employers who responded to the survey and helped make it a success.

Section II: Results in Brief

We present survey results in response to two questions:

1. What percentage of employers offer benefits?
2. What percentage of employees are offered benefits?

Our analyses include both the number of companies offering benefits and the number of employees who are offered benefits. The percentages for these two groups may or may not be similar depending on the number of employees affected by a company's decision whether to offer a specific benefit. For example, if there are a total of 10 companies and 7 offer health insurance, then 70 percent of the employers offer health insurance. Assume that each of the 7 companies offering health insurance has 1 employee, but each of the 3 other companies have 20 employees. The percentage of employees who are offered health insurance is only 10 percent (7 out of 67 total employees).

The size of the company and an employee's full- or part-time status are the best predictors of the availability of benefits.

In 2000, total compensation in Wyoming was comprised of 78.5 percent wages and salaries and 21.5 percent benefits (see Figure 1).

Section III: Introduction

There is a broad-based need for information on the compensation of workers. R&P participates in the State/Federal OES program to produce state and local estimates of wage rates by occupation.1 However, there is presently no similar program to collect information on employer-provided benefits that would produce localized estimates of benefit costs to employers or provide workers with information about the availability of benefit packages. To fill this void, R&P began developing a mail survey technique in 1999 to estimate the cost of benefits to Wyoming employers and the number and type of benefits offered to workers.2 While there are other uses of benefit information produced by the mail questionnaire strategy, a full accounting of costs and consumption remains the central consideration.

The federal benefits collection program relies on personal interviews and extensive collection systems. These are designed to obtain information on actual spending in large firms by type of benefit paid to each employee over an extended period. The budget request for the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Compensation and Working Conditions activity in fiscal year 2002 was $74.1 million. While yielding an accounting of cost information for each benefit feature across a variety of packages, this data collection strategy is extremely expensive and does not provide data at the state or local level. To address this gap, Wyoming’s Benefits Survey can answer cost questions.

Section IV: Developing the Benefits Program

While working on the 2001 Employee Benefits questionnaire, we kept our research objectives in mind. We also took a close look at last year's study, which can be found at <http://doe.state.wy.us/lmi/benefits/ben2toc.htm>, to see what worked and what did not.

Changes were minor this year. The question regarding retirement plans was revised. Besides asking whether the employer offers a retirement plan, we now ask if it is a defined benefit or a defined contribution plan. The question aimed at identifying the percentage of the retirement plan the employer pays was changed to ask who pays the contribution with the following options: employer, employee, or shared.

We also added three benefits to the miscellaneous benefits section. Those were Relocation assistance, Work-at-home option (telecommuting), and Flex-time.

Under cost of benefits, we eliminated the breakdown between full- and part-time. Therefore, employers have to report only one number instead of two.

In the 2003 survey, we added questions regarding the participation rate of employees for retirement and health insurance benefits.

Section V: Drawing the Sample

A stratified random sample of 500 companies was selected each quarter of 2001 to receive the questionnaire, for a total of 2,000 companies for the year. The sample was drawn from the most current Quarterly Unemployment Insurance (QUI) employer database available. This database contains the data reported by approximately 18,000 employers on a quarterly basis for Unemployment Insurance purposes. Companies that reported zero employees for all three months and employers of household employees were excluded from the database and not included in our sample.

Previously sampled companies were also excluded from the sample. We added the following data fields: average employment, class size, industry by major division, and region. The class size is determined by the company's average employment during the quarter we sampled. The employers were divided into six different class sizes (see Table 1). The industry by major division was determined by the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code assigned to that employer (see Figure 2). The region is determined by the county code assigned by the Wyoming Department of Employment (see Map).

We then selected a random sample stratified by employment size class, industry, and region for companies with 1 to 99 employees. Each quarter, we sampled 25 percent of the companies with 100 or more employees; by the end of the year, all 338 employers had been sampled. This stratification was necessary to get an adequate sample because of the small number of large employers in Wyoming. Large employers are therefore proportionally over-represented in our sample.

Section VI: Results

Response Rates

The overall response rate for 2001 survey was 58.3 percent or 1,166 employers out of 2,000 surveyed. These 1,166 companies employed a total of 63,031 employees, 80.8 percent of whom were employed full-time and 19.2 percent part-time (see Figure A-1). Managerial and professional employees held 25.5 percent of those jobs, clerical and technical employees held 30.2 percent, and production, service, and maintenance employees held 44.3 percent (see Figure A-2). In the previous year, the percentage breakout by these three broad occupational groups was 24.7, 25.6, and 49.7, respectively. Additionally, Figures A-3, A-4, and A-5 show response rates by employers' size class, region, and industry. The response rate by size class indicates that employers with 50 or more employees are much less likely to respond than smaller employers. Statewide employers and employers in the Northeast are also less likely to respond, as are employers in Wholesale and Retail Trade.

The results were weighted by response rate for each industry to adjust for non-response. They were also weighted against the employment for each industry as estimated in the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program. For agricultural employees, we used Unemployment Insurance (UI) Covered Employment data, because CES does not include Agriculture. This was done to account for employment differences in our sample. In order to adjust for differences in employing units in each industry, we weighted our sample by units reported for each industry to UI Covered Employment and also by response rate.

Most Common Benefits

Table B-1 shows that the three benefits employers most frequently offered to full-time employees were paid vacation (73.0%), paid holidays (64.2%), and health insurance (63.2%). After one year of employment, the average number of paid vacation days and paid holidays offered was 8.6 and 7.9 days, respectively, for full-time employees (see Table B-10a). To their part-time employees, employers most often offered a work-at-home option (34.2%), employee discounts (33.7%), and paid jury duty leave (26.0%). Table B-10b shows the average number of days of leave offered by industry).

The three benefits full-time employees were offered most often were health insurance (94.1%), dependent health insurance (92.0%), and paid vacation (91.0%) (see Table B-5). Part-time employees were offered paid jury duty leave (50.1%), a retirement plan (42.3%), and an employee discount (36.9%). Keep in mind that the survey only asked if employees were offered certain benefits. This does not mean the employees elected to participate in benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans in which employees may share some of the costs. The analysis showed that employers on average pay 79.5 percent of health insurance costs for full-time employees. For dependent health insurance of full-time employees, the employer contribution was 59.0 percent (see Table B-9).

Core Benefits

The rest of the analysis will focus on three major benefits: (1) health insurance, (2) a retirement plan, and (3) paid vacation. An analysis of these benefits offered to full-time employees by industry reveals that employers in Government, Wholesale Trade, and Mining are most likely to offer them. (See Figure 3.) Similarly, larger numbers of employees in these industries are most likely to be offered these benefits. (See Figure 4.) When it comes to paid vacation and retirement, Manufacturing also ranks high, exceeding even Mining (see Table B-2).

There is a significant relationship between benefits and company size. For full-time employees the occurrence of health insurance, retirement plans, and paid vacation increases with the size of the company. For example, 99.7 percent of employees in companies with 100 or more employees were offered health insurance, compared to only 47.1 percent of full-time employees in companies with one to four employees (see Table B-7). The same is true for employers; health insurance was offered to full-time employees by 96.3 percent of companies with 100 or more employees and by 40.8 percent of companies with one to four employees (see Table B-3).

As in prior years, region is not a good indicator for determining the likelihood of benefits being offered. Though companies classified as statewide entities offer benefits more often, this only confirms that company size is one of the major indicators for benefits; most (89.7%) companies classified as statewide have 100 or more employees.


Employers spent 21.5 percent of total compensation on benefits (see Figure 1). Of this amount, 5.2 percent went to retirement accounts, 6.9 percent to legally required benefits such as Social Security and Unemployment Insurance, and 9.5 percent to such benefits as paid leave, health insurance, and miscellaneous benefits.

Section VII: Conclusion

Full-time employees are much more likely than part-time employees to be offered benefits. Employees in larger companies are also at an advantage when it comes to benefits coverage. Being employed in Government, Manufacturing, Mining, or Wholesale Trade also proves advantageous.

We expect to publish the 2002 Employee Benefits Survey results later in 2003. We revised the 2003 survey in conjunction with the University of Wyoming.


1Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning, Wyoming Wage Survey, March 2001.

2This effort was undertaken jointly with the Labor Market Information Centers of the Nebraska Workforce Development, <http://www.dol.state.ne.us/nwd/center.cfm?PRICAT=4&SUBCAT=4C>, and the South Dakota Department of Labor, <http://www.state.sd.us/dol/lmic/index.htm>. Other benefits surveys are conducted by research offices in Maine, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma.

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