The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) released the Pension Insurance Data Book 2008. The report said the number of PBGC-insured single-employer plans was 27,900 at the beginning of 2008, down from a high of 112,200 in 1985. The PBGC insured another 1,500 multiemployer plans. The plans covered 43.9 million participants.
The report said the combined deficit for single-employer and multiple-employer plans was $11 billion at the end of fiscal year 2008, but Acting Director Vince Snowbarger reported to Congress in May that as of March 31, 2009 (halfway through the federal fiscal year), the deficit had mushroomed to $33.5 billion—the largest since the agency was created in 1974.
Additionally, 4,851 plans were hard-frozen. When a plan is hard-frozen, employees will receive the benefits they have earned, but no new benefits will be earned after the date the plan was frozen. Under this scenario, an employee who has spent 20 years at a company and intends to stay for another five years until retirement will not receive additional pension benefits for future work. New employees are not allowed to participate in the pension plan.
The Data Book is available at pbgc.gov/docs/2008databook.pdf. Single copies may be obtained by writing to PBGC Data Book, Room 12108, 1200 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20005-4026. Requests also may be submitted by fax to 202-326-4344 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.