NU Online News Service, April 17, 2003, 8:34 a.m. EST – The percentage of the workforce participating in an employment-based retirement plan declined modestly in 2001, according to research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington.

The percentage of full-time adult workers participating in a work-based retirement plan peaked at 60.4% in 2000, but declined to 58% in 2001. Nearly two of three such workers over 45 years old were participating.

When other workers (younger, older, part-time) less likely to participate are added, the total participation rate for all wage and salary workers declines to 50%, down from a peak of 52% set in 2000.

Research published in the April EBRI Issue Brief, “Employment-Based Retirement and Pension Plan Participation: Geographic Differences and Trends,” finds that participation is most frequently found in the industrial states that ring the Great Lakes and their western neighbors while coverage is lowest on the Pacific and Gulf coasts.

Among full-time adult wage and salary workers, the highest incidence of coverage (68.6%) was found in Minnesota and the lowest (46.2%) in Florida.

Indicators predictive of participation included working for the government, 84.1%; having a graduate or professional degree, 77%; earning more than $50,000 annually, 76.3%; working for a firm with more than 1,000 employees, 70.3%.