State retirement systems in America are still Fragile.
Despite state and local plans reporting disappointing preliminary investment returns averaging -10.4% in 2022 , there has been a net positive funded ratio trend on net over the past three years.
Funded status in 2022 for state and local retirement systems has declined considerably from last year, the sharpest single-year decline since the Great Recession and financial crisis. Investment return volatility is contributing to some significant swings in funded levels, which has been compounded by rising inflation and geopolitical turmoil.
State retirement systems in America improved from last year, but are still Fragile.
This an annual report on the current status of statewide public pension systems, put into a historic context. State and local governments face a wide range of challenges in general – and some of the largest are growing and unpredictable pension costs. The scale and effects of these challenges are best understood by considering the multi-decade financial trends and funding policy decisions that have brought public sector retirement systems to this moment.
The financial market volatility over the past 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic has ultimately been a positive investment climate for institutional investors like state pension plans. And the federal government has provided substantial financial aid to states and municipalities, smoothing over what could have been seismic budgetary shortfalls in some jurisdictions due to tax revenue declines. The combined historically unprecedented nature of these events continues to create an unpredictable environment for state pension plans. However, in this report Equable uses patterns of behavior from the past two decades as a guide to what might happen in the coming decade while also a means to identify areas of concern that should be monitored closely or acted upon immediately.