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Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, September 16, 2005

CRS Releases Report on Pension Sponsorship and Participation

Crs_logo_2 The Congressional Research Service has released  Pension Sponsorship and Participation:  Summary of Recent Trends (RL30122) (Sept. 8, 2005), based on new data recently published by the Census Bureau.  Here is the ssummary:

According to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), the number of workers in the private sector whose employer sponsored a retirement plan fell slightly between 2003 and 2004. Among workers in the private sector between the ages of 25 and 64, the number whose employer sponsored a retirement plan was 53.1 million in 2004, compared to 53.3 million in 2003. The number of workers who participated in an employer-sponsored retirement plan fell from 43.5 million in 2003 to 43.3 million in 2004. The percentage of 25 to 64-year-old workers in the private sector who participated in an employer-sponsored retirement plan declined from 46.7% in 2003 to 46.3% in 2004. The number of private-sector workers participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans peaked at 46.1 million in 2000. This number has since declined by 2.8 million.

A CRS analysis of the Current Population Survey indicates that, among workers 25 to 64 years old who were employed in the private sector and worked year-round, full-time:

  • The percentage of workers employed year-round, full-time whose employer sponsored a retirement plan fell from 62.7% in 2003 to 61.8% in 2004.
  • The percentage of workers employed year-round, full-time who participated in an employer-sponsored retirement plan declined from 54.1% in 2003 53.4% in 2004.
  • Only 26.5% of workers at firms with fewer than 25 employers participated in an employer-sponsored retirement plan in 2004, compared to 48.6% of workers at firms with 25 to 99 employees and 67.0% of workers at firms with 100 or more employees.
  • In 2004, there was relatively little difference in retirement plan participation among men and women who were employed full-time: 52.9% of men and 54.1% of women participated in an employer-sponsored retirement plan.
  • In 2004, only 44.9% of private-sector workers 25 to 34 years old who were employed year-round, full-time participated in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, versus 56.6% of workers over age 35.
  • Black, Hispanic, and other non-white workers were less likely to have participated in an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Fifty-nine percent of white workers participated in a company-sponsored retirement plan in 2004, compared to 49.7% of black non-Hispanic workers, 31.0% of Hispanic workers, and 50.8% of other non-white workers (mainly Asian-American and Native American workers).
  • Only 29.9% of workers whose earnings were in the lowest quartile in 2004 (those with earnings under $25,000) participated in a retirement plan at work, compared to 71.4% of workers whose earnings were in the top quartile (those with earnings above $58,000).

The percentage of part-year or part-time workers in the private sector whose employer sponsored a retirement plan was 41.5% in 2004, unchanged from 2003. The percentage of part-year or part-time workers in the private sector who participated in an employer sponsored retirement plan fell from 25.3% in 2003 to 24.8% in 2004.

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