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.

Total cash and investment holdings also dropped, though just slightly, falling to $2.519 trillion in 2012 vs. $2.544 trillion in 2011, a decrease of 1 percent.  

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