Staff at the Center for State and Local Government Excellence annually predict what they think will be the top issues facing state and local government in the year ahead. The following are the “trends to watch” in 2018:
Chipping away at the retirement savings gap. Local and state governments are making it easier for private sector workers and their own employees to save more for retirement. Listen to national speakers talk about automatically enrolling employees into a supplemental savings plan or setting up a statewide retirement savings plan for private sector workers here.
More job openings, but fewer qualified candidates. In 2017, human resources managers reported that police officers, information technology, engineers, and health care positions were the most difficult to fill. Read the 2017 state and local government workforce trends report here.
Growing their own talent is a top strategy. As more older workers reach retirement age, succession planning has become integrated into state and local government strategies to attract, engage, and retain employees. Three leading state and local government organizations describe what’s involved in becoming a learning organization and how to develop a pool of employees who can become qualified to assume new responsibilities. Read more here.
Elected officials need to understand public pensions. This guide uses graphics to explain key facts about public pension plans and the role of elected officials in making sure their pension plans are well designed and funded. Read more here.
Borrowing costs are affected by the funded status of public pensions. Several governments have experienced downgrades from ratings agencies related to their level of unfunded pension liabilities. Read the issue brief here.
Timely and complete pension reporting is more important than ever. Communication lessons from major pension systems shed light on leading practices. Read more here.
State and local government wages and salaries decline as a percentage of compensation. As pension and health care costs have risen over the past 10 years, wages and salaries have declined. From 2006-2016, wages and salaries declined from 67% to 63% as a share of total compensation. See the infographic here.
Funded levels of state and local government pension plans vary widely. The average funded ratio of 170 state and local pension plans in publicplansdata.org was 72 percent in 2016, but there is a wide variation among plans, even within a single state. See the infographic here.
Ten Years of Research and Impact. The Center for State and Local Government Excellence, founded in 2006, established the first publicly accessible database of state and local pension plans (Public Plans Data) with its partners at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College and the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. It has published over 80 research reports on such topics as pension funding health benefits, and compensation and workforce trends in state and local governments. Read the report here.