Public Plan Data – 2017 Update

According to their email announcement:, the free, comprehensive database of national, state, system, and plan level pension data, has been updated to include 2016 data base on CAFRs and actuarial reports released by May 31, 2017.  PPD’s sample spans fiscal years 2001 to 2016 and includes 170 plans (114 state-run and 56 locally-run) which account for 95 percent of state/local pension assets and members in the US.

There is a data dump that took some manipulation (and paring down to plans with what looked like complete data) and here are my highlights:

Number of plans: 111

Funded Ratio: 68.5%

Assets: $2.03 trillion

Liabilities: $2.96 trillion

Participants: 17,952,981 consisting of:

  • Active: 8,430,150
  • Inactive – Vested: 2,211,299
  • Inactive – Nonvested: 1,686,164
  • Retired: 5,625,368

Worst funded:


11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on July 7, 2017 at 1:30 am


    What would be your quick best-guess as to what that 68.5% overall funded ratio would be if using the valuation assumptions & methodology commonly used in Private Sector pension Plan valuations?


    • I would guess about 40% to 50% nationally if you were doing rigorous calculations with lower interest rates applied to plans with lower funded ratios on account of the lost earnings that they will not be getting on account of not being fully funded. It is absurd that all those plans at different funding levels all use interest rates in the 7.5% range.


      • Posted by Anonymous on July 7, 2017 at 11:56 am

        Thank you.

        I believe that the main reason Private Sector Plans (valued under Private Sector assumptions and methodology) are barred by Treasury/IRS Regulations from granting further pension accruals when their funding ratio drops below 60% is to protect taxpayers from large numbers of bailouts of failed Plans (via the PBGC).

        If the protection of Taxpayers (at the Federal level in this case) via a Plan accrual-freeze is appropriate when Plan funding ratios drop below 60% (a percentage, below which many experts suggest recovery is VERY difficult), aren’t the same Plan accrual-restrictions appropriate to protect State and Local Taxpayers?.


  2. Posted by Anonymous on July 7, 2017 at 5:52 am

    How does the above happen with such strict governance of private sector plans including criminal prosecution? Anyone hear of GE executives going to jail or foregoing their bonuses?


  3. Posted by Anonymous on July 7, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the Feds came out with pension funding guidelines for State and Local governments? Maybe the Feds would actually apply the rules to their DBP? Unlike NJ which holds Local governments to a higher funding level than the State!


    • Posted by Anonymous on July 7, 2017 at 11:58 am

      Quoting ………….

      “Wouldn’t it be nice if the Feds came out with pension funding guidelines for State and Local governments?”

      That would be wonderful ……. see my reply to My Bury above.


      • Posted by Anonymous on July 7, 2017 at 2:47 pm

        Is it accurate to say the Fed reforms for private plans were a direct result of the PBGC? If so, then similar requirements for State and Local governments could be attained by Fed financial involvement in State and Local unfunded DBP?


        • Posted by Anonymous on July 7, 2017 at 4:59 pm

          The Federal Gov’t (via Erisa, the PPA and other Law/Acts/Regs) has always “regulated” Private Sector Pension Plans, in many ways, including reasonably conservative valuation assumptions & methodology (which are always MUCH MUCH more conservative than those now used by Public Sector DB Plans).

          I don’t know what you mean by Federal “reforms” of Private Sector Plans.


          • Posted by Anonymous on July 7, 2017 at 6:32 pm

            IF the PBGC regulates % funding ratios below ~60% results in DBP accrual freeze than it’s, in essence, resulting in ‘reforming’ that private sector pension plan.

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 7, 2017 at 6:45 pm

            It’s Treasury/IRS Regs. that trigger a Private Sector pension freeze if the funding ratio drops below 60%, not the PBGC (which has noting to do with that).

            What I was suggesting (in an earlier comment) was that the concern about taxpayer-funded bailouts of failed Private Sector Plans (covered by PBGC insurance) might be one reason behind the existence of the 60% funding-rate cutoff below which Private Sector Plan accruals are frozen.

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 7, 2017 at 7:14 pm

            Ok got it and your analogy seems reasonable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: