The aggregate funded ratio of U.S. multiemployer pension plans rose to 82% from 74% from Jan. 1 through June 30 on strong asset gains, said the results of Milliman's Fall 2019 Multiemployer Pension Funding Study.
The estimated investment return in the study was 13.4% for the first half of the year, nearly double many plans' annual investment return assumptions.
The number of multiemployer plans that are 90% funded or better climbed to 635 from 383 over the first half of 2019, an increase of 66%. For plans in critical or critical and declining status, the rebound in funded status was not as pronounced, despite the positive investment returns.
"The majority of multiemployer pensions had a great start to 2019, with many reaching pre-2008 funding levels," said Tim Connor, a principal and consulting actuary at Milliman and co-author of the study, in a news release. "Troubled plans, however, have struggled to rebound fully and may need to depend on legislation making its way through Congress to help fund their members' pensions."
The study is available on Milliman's website.