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Overall Trends in Workers’ Compensation Benefits and Employer Costs

Cash benefits to injured workers and medical payments for their health care totalled $63.6 billion in 2013, an 8.2 percent increase from 2009. Medical payments increased by 10.3 percent to $31.5 billion, and cash benefits to injured workers increased by 6.2 percent to $32.0 billion.

Workers’ compensation costs to employers were $88.5 billion in 2013, an increase of 19.8 percent from 2009. This increase in employer costs and coverage reflect, at least in part, the U.S. economy on its way to recovery in 2013 with slow but positive employment and wage growth.

In 2013 workers’ compensation covered an estimated 129.6 million U.S. workers, an increase in covered employment of 3.8 percent over the last five years. The increase mainly occurred in the latter part of the period between 2011 and 2013. Between 2009 and 2011, there was less than 1 percent increase in covered employment. Despite the uptick in workers’ compensation benefits and costs in 2013, as a share of covered wages, benefits and costs per $100 of covered wages were lower in the years 2006 to 2013 than at any time since 1981.