The overall estimated funding ratio of the 100 largest U.S. public pension plans improved for the second month in a row in July, rising to 76.8% as of July 31 from 75.8% a month earlier, according to the Milliman 100 Public Pension Funding index.
During July, Milliman estimated that public pension plans had an aggregate investment return of 1.9%, with an estimated range of -0.1% to 2.9%.
"The July 31 funded status is now the highest ratio we've seen since May 31, 2022, when it reached 78.4%," said Rebecca A. Sielman, principal and consulting actuary at Milliman and author of the Milliman 100 Public Pension Funding index, in a news release Monday.
"This improvement pushed two more plans over the 90% funded mark, for a total of 19, while the number of plans less than 60% funded remains stable at 23."
Also as of June 30, a total of 16 plans had ratios between 60% and 70% (down from 18 as of June 30), 18 plans were between 70% and 80% (down from 20), and 24 plans were between 80% and 90% (up from 22).
As a result of the positive investment returns during June, estimated assets rose to $4.675 trillion from $4.603 trillion a month earlier, while estimated liabilities grew to an estimated $6.085 trillion from $6.07 trillion.