Citing US Census Bureau data, the CRS said 53.1 million private-sector workers between 25 and 44 were at companies sponsoring a retirement plan – down slightly from 2004’s 53.3 million. Released this week, the report is entitled Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends and was authored by Patrick Purcell.
Of those with plan access, the number actually in their employer’s retirement program likewise slipped, according to the CRS – from 43.5 million in 2003 to 43.3 million in 2004. The percentage of 25 to 64-year-old workers in the private sector who participated in an employer-sponsored retirement plan declined from 46.7% in 2003 to 46.3% in 2004.
The latest data was significantly off the high of 46.1 million participants in 2000, now down by 2.8 million.
According to the CRS, among full-time private sector workers 25 to 64 years old:
- The percentage of workers employed year-round, full-time whose employer sponsored a retirement plan fell from 62.7% in 2003 to 61.8% in 2004
- The percentage of workers employed year-round, full-time who participated in an employer-sponsored retirement plan declined from 54.1% in 2003 53.4% in 2004
- Only 26.5% of workers at firms with fewer than 25 employers participated in an employer-sponsored retirement plan in 2004, compared to 48.6% of workers at firms with 25 to 99 employees and 67% of workers at firms with 100 or more employees
- In 2004, there was relatively little difference in retirement plan participation among men and women who were employed full-time: 52.9% of men and 54.1% of women participated in an employer-sponsored retirement plan
- In 2004, only 44.9% of private-sector workers 25 to 34 years old who were employed year-round, full-time participated in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, versus 56.6% of workers over age 35
- Black, Hispanic, and other non-white workers were less likely to have participated in an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Fifty-nine percent of white workers participated in a company-sponsored retirement plan in 2004, compared to 49.7% of black non-Hispanic workers, 31% of Hispanic workers, and 50.8% of other non-white workers (mainly Asian-American and Native American workers)
- Only 29.9% of workers whose earnings were in the lowest quartile in 2004 (those with earnings under $25,000) participated in a retirement plan at work, compared to 71.4% of workers whose earnings were in the top quartile (those with earnings above $58,000).