US State, local gov't pensions hold $3 trillion in assets-Census

Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:14pm EST

Nov 15 (Reuters) - America's pension systems for state and local government workers held $3 trillion in stocks, bonds, cash and other assets at the end of 2011, up a sharp 13.2 percent from about $2.7 trillion in 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau said on Thursday.

Last year's gains equaled nearly $352 billion, compared with a rise of $289 billion in the value of holdings during 2010.

"Most investment categories showed increases, with decreases only in federal agency securities, funds held in trust and corporate bonds," the bureau said.

Equities in 2011 rose 12.5 percent to $1.1 trillion and constituted 34.6 percent of holdings, while corporate bonds decreased 0.2 percent to $424 billion, or 14 percent of total assets.

The value of foreign and international securities held in retirement systems for teachers, police and other staff of U.S. states, cities, counties and other non-federal governments jumped 24 percent to $523 billion, the bureau said. The segment accounted for 17.3 percent of overall assets.

Government securities, such as U.S. Treasury debt, increased to $232 billion, a rise of 3.8 percent during 2011, and accounted for 8 percent of holdings in 2011.

Total revenue, which included mostly investment returns, but also contributions from governments and workers, rose 30.6 percent to $616 billion last year.

The bureau said total payments that were mostly benefits paid to retirees increased in 2011 by 8.5 percent to $232 billion from $214 billion.