The Funding of State and Local Pensions: 2011-2015


Unsurprisingly, the funded status of state and local government pension plans declined in 2011 as plans continued to absorb the effects of the 2008-2009 stock market downturn. This issue brief provides a detailed update on plans’ funded status in 2011 and also reports projections for 2012-2015. Key findings include:

  • During 2011, the funded status of public plans slipped slightly from 76 percent to 75 percent.
  • This decline reflected slow asset growth due to actuarial smoothing, which was partly mitigated by an unexpected reduction in liability growth.
  • Going forward, the funded ratio is projected to remain steady next year and then gradually improve as the market meltdown is phased out of the calculations.
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