Pension liabilities of the 100 largest corporate defined benefit pension plans fell by $23 billion in August, while assets improved by $11 billion, according to the latest Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index. That brought the Milliman 100 funded status deficit to $498 billion and a 72.4 percent funded ratio.

Even though August numbers showed improvement, they are still well below the 78.7 percent funded ratio of Dec. 31, 2011.

August's funded status improved because of an increase in corporate bond interest rates, the benchmarks used to value pension liabilities. In 2012, the discount rate has declined every month but March and August.

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