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67 percent of private industry workers had access to retirement plans in 2020

March 01, 2021

Sixty-seven percent of private industry workers had access to employer-provided retirement plans in March 2020. Fifty-two percent had access only to defined contribution retirement plans. An additional 12 percent had access to both defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans, while 3 percent had access only to defined benefit retirement plans.

Retirement benefits access rates for private industry workers, March 2020
Characteristic All retirement plans Defined benefit plans only Defined benefit and defined contribution plans Defined contribution plans only

All workers

67% 3% 12% 52%

Full or part time

Full-time workers

77 3 15 58

Part-time workers

39 4 4 32

Union membership

Union workers

91 30 34 27

Nonunion workers

65 1 10 54

Industry

Goods-producing industries

76 3 16 56

Service-providing industries

65 3 11 51

Establishment size

100 workers or more

83 5 20 58

1 to 99 workers

53 2 5 46

Wage group

Highest 25 percent

88 4 27 57

Third 25 percent

79 4 15 61

Second 25 percent

67 4 8 55

Lowest 25 percent

42 1 2 39

Among union workers, 91 percent had access to a retirement plan. That compares with 65 percent of nonunion workers. Union workers were more likely than nonunion workers to have access to defined benefit retirement plans. Thirty percent of union workers had only a defined benefit retirement plan, and another 34 percent had both defined benefit and defined contribution plans. Among nonunion workers, 1 percent had only a defined benefit retirement plan, and another 10 percent had both defined benefit and defined contribution plans. Fifty-four percent of nonunion workers had access only to a defined contribution plan, compared with 27 percent of union workers.

Full-time workers were more likely than part-time workers to have access to any type of retirement plan. Workers in establishments with 100 or more workers were more likely than those in smaller establishments to have access to any type of retirement plan.

Among workers with the highest 25 percent of wages, 88 percent had access to any type of retirement plan. That compares with 42 percent of workers whose wages were among the lowest 25 percent.

These data are from the National Compensation Survey — Benefits program. For more information, see Employee Benefits in the United States, March 2020 and the complete dataset (XLSX). Defined benefit retirement plans determine payments according to a fixed formula based on salary, years of service, and age. Defined contribution plans determine the value of individual accounts on the basis of the amount of money contributed and the rate of return on the money invested.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 67 percent of private industry workers had access to retirement plans in 2020 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/67-percent-of-private-industry-workers-had-access-to-retirement-plans-in-2020.htm (visited December 09, 2021).

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