Wis. Reports Record Number of State Worker Retirements

January 13, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Record numbers of Wisconsin public sector workers retired last year.

In 2011, the state pension fund received a record 18,780 retirement applications from employees of state agencies, school districts and local governments, compared to an average of approximately 10,500 in each of the previous seven years, the state Department of Employee Trust Funds said, according to the Wisconsin State Journal

In addition, the news report said new federal labor statistics show Wisconsin lost a bigger portion of its public sector workforce than any other state from April through June, nearly 8,000, or a 10% decline from the same quarter in 2010.  

The increase in retirements is, in part, a reaction to a new law that would force public workers to pay more for health and retirement benefits while taking away most of their collective bargaining rights (see WI Teachers Choose Retirement over Paying More for Benefits).  

However, a spokeswoman for the Department of Employee Trust Funds noted it is also an indication of an aging workforce that put off retiring during the recent economic downturn.