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COVID-19 Poses Risks for State and Local Public Pensions
If the coronavirus pandemic leads to a protracted recession, public pension funding could weaken further in the years to come. During the 2001 and 2007–09 recessions, investment returns failed to reach pension plans’ longer-term assumed returns, and shortfalls in state and local government budgets led some employers to temporarily reduce contributions. If pension funding falls during the current crisis, state and local governments may choose to adjust plan structures as they did after the Great Recession.