The funded status of 100 of the largest U.S. corporate pension plans increased 1.7 percentage points to 89.7% at the end of July, according to the latest Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index.
The improvement for the month was entirely the result of strong investment returns as the discount rate was relatively flat, dropping just one basis point to 4.73%. Assets increased by $26 billion and pension liabilities increased by $2 billion.
Nine of the last 12 months have seen funded status gains as the deficit has decreased by $388 billion during that time period.
“The last 12 months were the best 12-month period for corporate pension funded status in the history of our study,” said John Ehrhardt, principal and consulting actuary and co-author of the report, in a news release.
Year to date, assets increased by $60 billion and liabilities declined by $172 billion. The total pension deficit stood at $158 billion at the end of July. Total assets reached $1.382 trillion and liabilities were $1.54 trillion.