Fortifying Main Street: The Economic Benefit of Public Pension Dollars in Small Towns and Rural America

Link: https://www.nirsonline.org/reports/mainstreet2022/

PDF: https://www.nirsonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/FINAL-compresses-fortifyingmainstreet2022_small-compressed.pdf

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The report’s key findings are as follows:

  • Public pension benefit dollars represent between one and three percent of GDP on average in the 2,922 counties studied.
  • Rural counties have the highest percentages of their populations receiving public pension benefits.
  • Small town counties experience a greater relative impact in terms of both GDP and total personal income from pension benefit dollars than rural or metropolitan counties.
  • Rural counties see more of an impact in terms of personal income than metropolitan counties, while metropolitan counties and rural counties see an equivalent impact in terms of GDP.
  • Counties that contain state capitals are outliers from other metropolitan counties, likely because there is a greater density of public employees in these counties, most of whom remain in these counties in retirement.
  • On average, rural counties have lost population while small town counties and metropolitan counties have gained population in the period between 2000 and 2018, but the connection between population change and the relative impact of public pension benefit dollars is weak.

Author(s): Dan Doonan and Tyler Bond from NIRS, Nathan Chobo from Linea Solutions Inc.

Publication Date: July 2022

Publication Site: National Institute on Retirement Security

New Research Offers Comprehensive Guide on Public Sector Hybrid Retirement Plans

Full report link: https://www.nirsonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Hybrid-Handbook-F8.pdf

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A new report provides a comprehensive  overview of the many aspects of public sector hybrid retirement plan designs. The report finds that some shifts to hybrid designs were made without a proper evaluation of the long-term implications of the plan changes. In contrast, other hybrids are well-thought-out and more likely to provide retirement security to employees, enabling public employers to recruit and retain a qualified workforce.

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A hybrid is not one particular plan design, but instead is an umbrella term capturing a wide range of different plan designs. Some hybrids are defined benefit (DB) pensions with risk-sharing provisions, while others blend attributes of DB and defined contribution (DC) plans. Each of these plan designs offers tradeoffs in terms of retirement benefits, risks, and costs.

Author(s): Dan Doonan, Elizabeth Wiley

Publication Date: 10 May 2021

Publication Site: National Institute on Retirement Security