In 1999, New York State''s workers'' compensation costs for manufacturers moved farther above the national average for those costs, according to a study by the New York Business Council, the state''s largest employers'' organization.
Only nine states in the study were farther above the national average in these comp costs.
As costs in most states declined, New York manufacturers paid average workers'' comp costs that were 29.9 percent higher than the national average in the 12 months ending Jan. 1, 1999, said the study.
"We are moving in the wrong direction compared to competing states," said Business Council President Daniel Walsh. "New York is still better off than it was before the reforms of 1996, but the evidence is mounting that New York is now losing ground to its competitors and that more workers'' compensation reforms are needed."
In the study''s rankings of the states with the lowest comparative costs, New York ranked 36th among 45 states evaluated.
Five states were not evaluated in the study because each of the five provides workers'' compensation insurance exclusively through a state fund.
The Business Council sees comp costs as a key business-climate issue. "Workers compensation costs in New York have long been above the national average and these costs, especially for manufacturers, are considered a key indicator of a state''s economic climate," said Walsh.
Some notable rankings in the study included the following:
- The state with the lowest comparative costs, Utah, had costs that were 58.6 percent below the national average.
- New York''s neighbor states performed better than New York in the study: Massachusetts (15 percent below the national average); Pennsylvania (10.6 percent below the national average); Vermont (2.2 percent below the national average); New Jersey (.03 percent below the average); and Connecticut (.01 above the national average).
- The study showed that manufacturers'' average comp costs nationally had declined for the sixth consecutive year. Six states saw decreases in comparative costs of more than 20 percent in this year''s study: Michigan, Montana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Pennsylvania.
by Virginia Sutcliffe