The nation's largest public pension funds, which cover about 20 million participants, saw their liabilities grow faster than their assets in 2012, according to the latest Public Fund Survey.

The survey of about 85 percent of state and local retirement plans found the funds had assets of $2.67 trillion at the end of last year, an increase of 0.9 percent over 2011. Liabilities totaled $3.63 trillion, a rise of 4.1 percent. The median funding level of the funds was 73.1 percent.

The survey, which is sponsored by the National Association of State Retirement Administrators and the National Council on Teacher Retirement, found that the number of retirees receiving benefits from the 126 pension systems looked at was up 4.2 percent. The number of working participants dropped for the fourth year in a row as governments reduced their payrolls.

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