Stock illustration: Giving a piggy bank a shot

U.S. public pension plans averaged a negative return of -6.14 percent last year, falling far below the +6.9 percent average assumed annual rate of return for the sector, according to analysis by the nonpartisan Equable Institute.

Steep declines in investment markets and rising inflation hit returns across the sector, which was only just recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Pension plans face increasing pressure, as cost-of-living adjustments increase the potential risk to the retirement plans of millions of Americans.

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