The first quarter of 2012 brought U.S. public pensions their largest investment earnings on record.
Citing the U.S. Census Bureau, Reuters noted that public pensions earned $179.2 billion, pushing total holdings and investments up 5.6% from the fourth quarter, to $2.8 trillion. Holdings and investments are up 0.7% from the year-ago period. The U.S. Census Bureau began collecting data on pension investments in the third quarter of 1974.
Government contributions increased 12.7% from the fourth quarter and 14.5% from the first quarter of 2011, according to Reuters, to over $24 billion. Employee contributions were $9.3 billion.
Most of the first-quarter gains are from corporate stocks, which increased nearly 18% from the fourth quarter to more than $967 billion, and international equities, which grew more than 16% to $550 billion.
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Investments in Treasuries grew 25% to $223.5 billion, the highest level in 10 years, according to Reuters.