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DEFINED BENEFIT

Census Bureau: Public pension contributions rise 6.6% in 2016 but assets fall 1.6%

State and local government defined benefit plan contributions totaled $191.6 billion in 2016, up 6.6% from the previous year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2016 annual public pensions survey.

Contributions totaled $179.7 billion in 2015, $165.6 billion in 2014 and $152.6 billion in 2013.

Contributions by governments accounted for the majority of contributions, totaling $140.6 billion in 2016, up 6.5% from the previous year's total of $132 billion.

Split between state and local government DB plans, local governments contributed $80 billion in 2016, while state governments contributed $60.6 billion. Employee contributions totaled $51 billion, up 6.9% from the previous year's total of $47.7 billion.

Total assets, meanwhile, fell to $3.739 trillion, a 1.6% drop from the previous year's total of $3.8 trillion, despite the increase in contributions, due in part because investment earnings dropped 67.9% to $49.9 billion in 2016 from $155.5 billion the previous year.

The amount of securities held by the surveyed state and local government plans totaled $3.1 trillion in 2016, down 2.9% from $3.193 trillion the previous year.

Non-governmental securities totaled $2.804 trillion in 2016, down 4.6% from the previous year, while governmental securities totaled $295.6 billion, up 1.2% from $292 billion the previous year.

Representatives at 299 state pension plans and 5,977 local defined benefit plans participated in the survey.

Data from the survey is available on the Census Bureau website.