The overall estimated funding ratio of the 100 largest U.S. public pension plans fell to 73.7% as of May 31 from 74.8% a month earlier, according to the Milliman 100 Public Pension Funding index.
During the month of May, Milliman estimated that public pension plans had an aggregate investment return of -1%, with an estimated range of -1.8% to -0.3%.
"Despite the slight drop in funded status, May marks the eighth month in a row where the funded ratio has stayed between 70-75% funded," said Rebecca A. Sielman, principal and consulting actuary at Milliman and author of the Milliman 100 Public Pension Funding index, in a June 20 news release. "We've been seeing a relatively stable period now compared to March 31, 2020, through September 30, 2022, when the funded ratio climbed from 66.0% to 85.5% and then fell back to 69.8%."
Sixteen plans had funding ratios over 90% as of May 31, compared to 17 plans at the end of April, while 24 plans had funding ratios over 60%, equal to the previous month.
Also as of May 31, a total of 19 plans had ratios between 60% and 70% (same as April 30), 22 plans were between 70% and 80% (up from 20), and 19 plans were between 80% and 90% (down from 20).
As a result of the negative returns for the month ended May 31, estimated assets fell to $4.47 trillion from $4.52 trillion a month earlier, while estimated liabilities rose slightly to an estimated $6.1 trillion from $6.03 trillion.