The State Worker

California state worker retirements fall slightly in 2014, but trending up

This chart shows how many state workers filed retirement papers since CalPERS began tracking the numbers in 2007.
This chart shows how many state workers filed retirement papers since CalPERS began tracking the numbers in 2007. CalPERS

Slightly fewer California state workers filed papers to retire last year, according to CalPERS data, although the pension-taking trend appears to be heading back up.

The state retirement system received 9,922 pension applications from state employees for the 12 months that ended mid-December, down just 0.98 percent from the year prior. CalPERS counts service retirement applications from mid-month to mid-month.

The data strongly suggest, however, that after several years of decline, the number of state workers taking their pensions is climbing again. Year-over-year retirements increased 25 percent for the last two quarters of 2014, and more state workers filed pension papers each month from July to December when compared to the year before.

A raise that kicked in for senior state workers the summer of 2013 likely explains part of the retirement trend, since employees couldn’t count the higher salary for pension purposes until they had been receiving it for one year. And the impact of furloughs on retirement rates, which prompted many pension-eligible employees to head for the exits sooner, is weakening as time goes on.

The annual figures do not include the last half of December, when up to one-quarter of state retirement applications are filed. Had those applications been counted, retirements for 2014 would likely eclipse 2013’s total.

Call Jon Ortiz, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1043.

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