How are the nation’s state government pension funds faring? The U.S. Census Bureau, among others, likes to keep track and just issued its latest report.
The bottom line? Earnings at state-administered pension systems remained in positive territory in 2012 for the third consecutive year since the Great Recession. That’s the good news. The bad? State public pension investments earned a total of $91.8 billion in 2012, compared to $414 billion in 2011, a nearly 80 percent plunge.
States with the largest total cash and investments
Not surprisingly, the states with the largest population also had the highest level of cash and investment holdings in their public pension systems. California, New York, Texas, Ohio, Florida and Illinois were the top pension-holders in the nation.
The top investments within state-administered defined benefit retirement systems were corporate stocks at $934.6 billion, foreign and international securities at $450.7 billion, corporate bonds at $315.7 billion, miscellaneous investments at $292.4 billion, real property at $106.2 billion, funds held in trust at $34.7 billion, other nongovernmental securities at $32.1 billion and mortgages at $9.6 billion.
Total contributions for state-administered pension systems
Total contributions to state-administered pension plans increased 4.98 percent, rising from $105.9 billion in 2011 to $111.1 billion in 2012. Total contributions include employee contributions and government contributions. Employee contributions increased 5.6 percent from $34.1 billion in 2011 to $36 billion in 2012 and comprised 32.4 percent of total contributions in 2012. Government contributions increased 4.6 percent from $71.8 billion in 2011 to $75.1 billion in 2012 and comprised 67.6 percent of total contributions in 2012.