Mercer’s newest study of the corporate defined benefits landscape offers a grim picture of the industry, as 2011′s funding deficits dropped back to levels felt in 2009, even with a record $70 billion added as contributions during the year.

The report, “How Does Your Retirement Program Stack Up – 2012,” suggests that the funded status of the S&P 1500′s pension plans has continued on a downward slide. In Dec. 2010, the number was 81 percent; a year later, it had dropped to 75 percent and as of July 31, 2012, the plans hit a record low of 70 percent, a $689 billion shortage overall. 

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