Large employers were more likely to offer retirement benefits to their employees in March 2012. According to new data from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, retirement benefits were available to only 50 percent of workers in small businesses, compared to 79 percent in medium size companies and 86 percent of workers in large businesses.
Those employed in state and local government jobs were more likely to have access to and participate in retirement plans, with 89 percent of workers having access to a plan, 84 percent participating in a plan and a 95 percent take-up rate.
Among civilians, those listed as working in the private nonfarm economy and including workers in the public sector, except the federal government, only 68 percent of workers had access to plans and only 54 percent participated. There was only a 79 percent take-up rate among civilians.
In private industry, 65 percent had access and 48 percent participated in a retirement plan, with a 75 percent take-up rate.
Teachers had the greatest access and participation rates in retirement plans among both the civilian and state and local government sectors. Ninety-seven percent of primary, secondary and special education school teachers had access to a retirement plan and 93 percent participated in a plan, compared to 99 percent of state and local government teachers who had access to a plan and 96 percent who participated.
Those employed in educational services at the elementary and secondary school level, junior college, college and university level also had higher access to and participation rates in retirement plans than most other sectors. Health care and public administration workers also had high access and participation rates.
Those who worked full time had higher access and participation rates than those who worked part-time, according to the data. Union workers were more likely to have access to retirement plans than nonunion workers. Not surprisingly, the highest 10 percent of wage earners in all business categories also had the highest access and participation rates, with the lowest 10 percent having the least access to a retirement plan and only a 10 percent participation rate in the civilian sector. Those numbers were much higher in the government sector, with the 59 percent of the lowest 10 percent of wage earners having access to a plan and 55 percent participating.