The State Pensions Funding Gap: Challenges Persist

Source: Pew Charitable Trusts, Issue Brief, July 2015

From the overview:
The nation’s state-run retirement systems had a $968 billion shortfall in 2013 between pension benefits governments have promised to their workers and the funding available to meet those obligations—a $54 billion increase from the previous year. This report focuses on the most recent comprehensive data and does not fully reflect the impact of recent strong investment returns.1 Because state retirement systems have historically accounted for investment losses and gains over time, the latest data still include losses from the 2008 Great Recession and do not fully incorporate the strong returns of recent years. As recent strong investment returns are fully realized under new accounting standards, preliminary data from 2014 point to a reduction in unfunded liabilities for the majority of states. Many states have also benefited from reforms enacted since the financial crisis.