Government pension funds increase 13.2 percent

WASHINGTON — The nation’s state and local public-employee retirement systems had $3.0 trillion in total cash and investment holdings in 2011, a $351.9 billion or 13.2 percent increase from $2.7 trillion in 2010, according to new statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.

This follows a $288.7 billion gain from 2009 to 2010. These statistics come from the 2011 Annual Survey of Public Pensions: State- and Locally-Administered Defined Benefit Data, which provides an annual look at the financial activity and membership information of the nation’s state and local public-employee retirement systems, including revenues, expenditures, investment holdings, membership and beneficiaries.

Cash, investment holdings. Most investment categories showed increases, with decreases only in federal agency securities, funds held in trust and corporate bonds.

Other highlights for cash and investment holdings:

•Corporate stocks rose by 12.5 percent, from $930.2 billion in 2010 to $1.1 trillion in 2011. Corporate stocks comprised 34.6 percent of total holdings.

•Corporate bonds decreased by 0.2 percent, from $424.9 billion in 2010 to $424 billion in 2011. Corporate bonds comprised 14.0 percent of total holdings.

•Foreign and international securities increased by 24 percent, from $421.9 billion in 2010 to $523 billion in 2011. Foreign and international securities comprised 17.3 percent of total holdings.

•Government securities (which include U.S. Treasury) increased by 3.8 percent, from $232 billion in 2010 to $240.9 billion in 2011. Governmental securities comprised 8.0 percent of total holdings.

Receipts

•Total revenue increased 30.6 percent, from $471.6 billion in 2010 to $616.1 billion in 2011. The increase was driven by the rise of earnings on investments, which increased to $479.6 billion in 2011.

•Earnings on investments comprised 77.8 percent of total revenue, government contributions comprised 15.6 percent, and employee contributions accounted for the remaining 6.5 percent of total revenue in 2011.

•Government contributions increased 11.3 percent, from $86.4 billion in 2010 to $96.2 billion in 2011. Employee contributions increased 3 percent, from $39.1 billion in 2010 to $40.3 billion in 2011.

Payments

•Total payments increased by 8.5 percent, from $213.8 billion in 2010 to $232 billion in 2011. Payments consist of benefits, withdrawals and other payments. Benefits increased by 7.6 percent, from $201 billion in 2010 to $216.3 billion in 2011.

•Benefit payments comprised 93.3 percent of total payments.

(Statistics are shown for revenues, expenditures, cash and investments, and membership information by national, state and local levels, in addition to a national summary table. The structure of retirement systems varies widely among states. In some jurisdictions, state and local government employees are vested in a small number of statewide systems.)

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