State Pensions Suffer Huge Loss

With 3.8 million Americans employed by state governments, the welfare of the state retirement systems is a valid concern, especially given the systems’ dependence on market strength. Because of these concerns, many state governments are asking hard questions about the conditions of their state pensions or making difficult decisions to ensure longevity.

According to new data released today, state retirement systems’ assets fell $641.3 billion in 2009, a big drop even by 2008 standards when retirement systems saw losses of $152 billion.

Most of the losses in 2009 were because of a $485 billion decrease in earnings on investments, following a loss of $440 million the previous year.

Total contributions to retirement systems were $65 billion. Employee contributions increased 5 percent to $33 billion.

In these times when state and local governments are facing severe budgetary hardships, having good data year to year to understand the changes taking place is more important than ever. The 2009 Annual Survey of Public-Employee Retirement Systemsprovides this valuable information. It reports annual financial activity for the nation’s 222 state administered public employee retirement systems, including cash and security investments holdings, securities, receipts and payments.

For the first time the Census Bureau is releasing actuarial liability data, which projects the total obligation to cover costs for providing pensions to former and present employees.

Visit our website for more information on state retirement systems.

View detailed tables.

Read the press release.

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One Response to State Pensions Suffer Huge Loss

  1. Geoffrey Topper says:

    Why is the U.S. Gov. investing pension plans in the first place. We as a nation need to stop gambling our money away into the pockets of the rich. This practice is not logical because we are unable to predict the future no matter what history has told us. This practice of betting with pension plans based on faith and trust of the invisible hand has destroyed our nation and must be reassessed. In a sense this practice would be like taking 1 pension of funds and going into a casino to see if its possible to walk out of the casino with 5 or more pensions of funds. As I stated before, completely illogical. Use our brains America.

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