The funded ratio of the 100 largest corporate pension plans increased for the third month in a row in November, nearing 94 percent.

According to data from the Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index, the pension deficit is below $100 billion for the first time in five years as the funded status increased by $34 billion during November.

The improvement came as the benchmark corporate bond interest rates used to value pension liabilities rose at the end of October. Asset returns also improved in November, exceeding expectations, which contributed to the funding improvement in November.

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