State pension funds have been under pressure since the stock market tumbled in 2008. The Great Recession forced states to slash budgets as revenues dropped, leaving future liabilities poorly funded and employees wondering if their promised retirement benefits would be paid.
Some states let their pension plans fall behind by delaying payments to the funds. That, coupled with an accelerating rate of retirement as the baby boom generation ages, spelled trouble.
And the data reported by states might not even tell the full story. An SEC commissioner said this year that trillions in Unfunded Liabilities are being hidden.)
Everything isn’t gloom and doom, though. The rebounding of the stock and bond markets has helped some pension funds improve their positions. In fact, a Standard & Poor’s report noted that pension funding had likely reached its low point.
Still, the report said continued management of state pension liabilities was key to ensuring that those facing funding gaps continue to rebound.
S&P’s looked at the strength of the public pension funds of all 50 states. The latest available data, which is from 2012, revealed the 20 Best and Worst State Pension Funds.
(For another look at public pensions, check out 20 Best & Worst Cities for Pension Funding.)
Our 20 Best & Worst States for Pension Funding includes the percentage of liabilities that is funded and whether each fund’s percentage went up, down or remained neutral over the previous year.
Percent Funded: 84.6%
Percent Funded: 86.4%
8. New York
Percent Funded: 88.2%
Percent Funded: 88.3%
Percent Funded: 91.5%
Percent Funded: 92.5%
4. South Dakota
Percent Funded: 92.6%
Percent Funded: 95.1%
2. North Carolina
Percent Funded: 95.4%