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Not so Modest: Pension Benefits for Full-Career State Government Employees

March 24, 2014
By Andrew Biggs

The average benefit for a full-career state government employee is roughly twice the $19,000 figure claimed by AFSCME, and in some states substantially higher.

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The average benefit for a full-career state government employee is roughly twice the $19,000 figure claimed by AFSCME, and in some states substantially higher. The low average benefit payments cited by pensions and public employee unions are produced by including employees who do not spend a full career working for the government. Short-term government employees do receive modest pension benefits, and many would be better off with a defined contribution (DC), 401(k)-type plan. Full career public employees retiring today, by contrast, receive pension benefits that place them among the highest-income retirees in their states.