The cost of employee benefits rose faster than pay in 1989, reversing a two-year trend, according to a survey by the United States Chamber of Commerce. Benefits rose to 37.6 percent of payroll in 1989, up from from 37 percent the previous year. Medical costs went up 12 percent in 1989, following a 16 percent jump in 1988.

Benefit payments ranged from 29 percent of payroll in textiles and apparel to more than 40 percent in the primary and fabricated metals.

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