Census Bureau: State, local pension plan assets see second year of gains
By Hazel Bradford | November 15, 2012 2:04 pm
State and local government pension plan assets and cash holdings racked up a second year of gains in 2011, increasing 13.2% from the previous year, to almost $3 trillion, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday.
The $351.9 billion gain in 2011 follows a $288.7 billion increase in 2010, preceded by two years of investment losses.
Statistics from the 2011 Annual Survey of Public Pensions: State- and Locally-Administered Defined Benefit Data show investment increases in almost all categories except for corporate bonds, funds held in trust, and federal agency securities, which include bonds and mortgage-backed securities from the U.S. Postal Service, the Federal Housing Administration and other agencies.
The biggest investment gains came from international securities, which increased 24% to $523 billion. Corporate stocks rose 12.5% to $1.1 trillion in 2011. Government securities increased 3.8% to $240.9 billion.
International securities account for 17.3% of holdings, while corporate stocks account for 34.6% and government securities account for 8%.
Corporate bonds, which account for 14% of holdings, decreased 0.2% to $424 billion in 2011.
Investment earnings made up 77.9% of income, with another 15.6% coming from government contributions and 6.5% from employee contributions. In 2011, government contributions increased 11.3% to $96.2 billion, while employee contributions increased 3% to $40.3 billion.
The 2011 survey collected information on defined benefit plans for their fiscal years ended between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011, with the exception of Alabama, Michigan and Texas, which had different reporting periods.
The survey covers state retirement systems, which in 2011 had $2.5 trillion, or 84% of assets, and local systems with $484 billion, or 16% of assets. In 2010, state systems had 83% of assets and local systems had 17%.