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15 percent of private industry workers had access to a defined benefit retirement plan

April 19, 2024

In March 2023, 15 percent of private industry workers had access to a defined benefit plan. Defined benefit plans provide employees with guaranteed retirement benefits based on plan formulas. An employee's retirement age, length of service, and preretirement earnings may affect the benefits received. Among private industries, financial activities stood out as 33 percent of workers had access to a defined benefit plan and 19 percent of workers chose to participate.

Percent of private industry workers with access to and participation in defined benefit plans, March 2023
Industry Access Participation

Financial activities

33 19

Information

22 20

Manufacturing

21 15

Trade, transportation, and utilities

18 14

All industries

15 11

Education and health services

14 11

Construction

14 14

Professional and business services

10 6

Leisure and hospitality

1 1

Defined contribution plans determine the value of individual accounts based on the amount of money contributed and the rate of return on the money invested. This type of plan was more widely available to private industry workers as 67 percent of workers had access and 49 percent chose to participate in March 2023. Eighty-seven percent of workers in financial activities had access to a defined contribution plan and 76 percent chose to participate.

Percent of private industry workers with access to and participation in defined contribution plans, March 2023
Industry Access Participation

Financial activities

87 76

Information

83 75

Manufacturing

82 67

Education and health services

73 55

Trade, transportation, and utilities

72 43

Professional and business services

68 54

All industries

67 49

Construction

60 42

Leisure and hospitality

32 15

These data are from the Employee Benefits program. For more information, see “Employee Benefits in the United States — March 2023.” Information on retirement plan benefits and costs are highlighted in the recent Spotlight on Statistics, “1974–2024: Celebrating 50 Years of Protected Retirement Plans.”

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 15 percent of private industry workers had access to a defined benefit retirement plan at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2024/15-percent-of-private-industry-workers-had-access-to-a-defined-benefit-retirement-plan.htm (visited July 17, 2024).

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