Participation Rate Fell for Some in 2001

October 8, 2002 ( - The rate of retirement plan participation among full-time private-sector workers 25 to 64 years old fell during 2001, a study found.

According to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) analysis of data recently released by the US Census Bureau, retirement plan participation in that demographic sector fell to 55.8% in 2001 from 57.7% in 2000.

The CRS said workers were more likely to save for retirement in an employer plan, the larger their company is. Only 29.1% of workers at firms with fewer than 25 employees participated in 2001, compared to 48.4% of workers at firms with 25 to 99 employees and 68.6% of workers at firms with more than 100 employees.

In 2001, there was relatively little difference in retirement plan participation among men and women in the private sector who were full-time workers 25 to 64 years; 56.5% of men and 54.8% of women were included in a company plan, the CRS said.

By comparison, 48% of private-sector full-time workers age 25 to 34 were in an employer plan in 2001, versus 59% of workers 35 or older.

Black and other non-white workers are less likely to work for an employer that sponsored a retirement plan. Some 57% of full-time private-sector white workers in 2001 were included in a company plan, compared to 50% of black and other non-white employees.

Workers who earned less than $20,000 in 2001 were one-third as likely to have a retirement plan at work than those who earned $60,000 or more

Part-year or part-time workers in the private sector were half as likely as full-timers to be participants in an employer plan in 2001 (27.5% vs. 55.8%).