State-administered pension funds across the country totaled $2.5 trillion in cash and investment holdings last year, a 14.6 percent increase over 2010, according to new statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. The funds’ earnings on investments were $410.6 billion last year, 41 percent higher than the previous year.
There are 222 state-administered public-employee retirement systems across the country. The structure of the systems varies wildly among states.
In New York, state and local employees contributed $440.5 million to the $150.3 billion fund and governments paid a total of $5.6 billion last year, 12.7 times what employees gave, the annual Census Bureau survey found. Earnings on investments were $37.1 billion. California’s pension system, the largest in the country, earned $82.4 billion in investments. New York’s is the second largest.
In several states, employees contributed more than state and local governments, including New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Governments contributed 10.7 percent more than in 2010, for a total of $71.7 billion last year. Employees paid 3 percent more into the system, for a total of $34.2 billion.
Benefit payments totaled $176.8 billion, 8.2 percent higher than in 2010. Average benefit payments were in the $25,000-$29,999 range in 2011.
Total revenue increased 32.8 percent to $516.5 billion, driven by higher earnings on investments than in 2010.