51 percent of private industry workers had access to only defined contribution retirement plans

October 02, 2018

In March 2018, 51 percent of private industry workers had access to only defined contribution retirement plans through their employer. An additional 13 percent had access to both defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans at their workplace, while 4 percent of private industry workers had access to only defined benefit retirement plans.

Retirement benefits access rates, private industry workers, March 2018
Characteristic Defined benefit plans only Defined benefit and defined contribution plans Defined contribution plans only

All workers

4% 13% 51%

Part-time workers

5 4 31

Full-time workers

3 16 58

Nonunion workers

1 11 54

Union workers

34 34 24

Service-providing industries

4 12 50

Goods-producing industries

4 18 53

1 to 99 workers

2 5 46

100 workers or more

6 22 57

The access rates for defined contribution only plans were 31 percent for part-time workers and 58 percent for full-time workers in private industry in March 2018. An additional 4 percent of part-time workers had access to both defined benefit and defined contribution plans; 16 percent of full-time workers had access to both types of retirement plans.

Access rates for defined benefits retirement plans were highest among union workers: 34 percent of union workers had access to only defined benefits plans and another 34 percent had access to both defined benefit and defined contribution plans. Among nonunion workers, 1 percent had access to defined benefit plans and 11 percent had access to both types of plans.

For workers in service-providing industries, the access rate for only defined contribution plans was 50 percent, compared with 53 percent rate in goods-producing industries.

At establishments with fewer than 100 workers, 46 percent of workers had access to only defined contribution retirement benefits in March 2018. At establishments with 100 or more workers, the rate was 57 percent.

These data are from the National Compensation Survey - Benefits program. For more information, see Retirement Benefits, March 2018 in National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in the United States, March 2018. 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, 51 percent of private industry workers had access to only defined contribution retirement plans on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2018/51-percent-of-private-industry-workers-had-access-to-only-defined-contribution-retirement-plans-march-2018.htm (visited December 11, 2018).

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