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On January 1, 2020, the retirement industry, and plan sponsors in particular, might have been forgiven for thinking they were doing a pretty good job helping employees save for retirement. But the COVID-19 pandemic “changed everything,” writes Wharton economist Olivia Mitchell in a working paper published this month.

Now new worries, such as how long, or even whether, the labor market will take to get back to pre-COVID-19 status, join the already increasing worries about pension funding levels. U.S. state and local pensions are suffering, with plan funding falling from an estimated 52% to 37%, the paper reports. In addition, retirement systems are “also feeling the pain” as payrolls and government tax revenues are contracting.

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