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68 percent of private industry workers had access to retirement plans in 2021

November 01, 2021

In March 2021, 68 percent of private industry workers had access to retirement benefits through their employer, with 51 percent choosing to participate. Ninety-two percent of workers in state and local government had access to retirement benefits, with 82 percent participation. The take-up rate—the share of workers with access who participate in the plan—was 75 percent for private industry workers and 89 percent for state and local government workers.

Retirement benefit access and participation rates, by occupational group, March 2021
Occupation Access Participation Take-up rate

Private industry, total

68% 51% 75%

Management, professional, and related

86 72 84

Service

40 24 59

Sales and office

73 51 70

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance

65 50 77

Production, transportation, and material moving

72 55 76

State and local government, total

92 82 89

Management, professional, and related

94 83 89

Service

85 76 89

Sales and office

92 82 89

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance

97 90 93

Production, transportation, and material moving

90 81 90

Within private industry, management, professional, and related occupations had the highest access rate for retirement benefits in March 2021, at 86 percent, and the highest take-up rate (84 percent). Service occupations had both the lowest access rate (40 percent) and the lowest take-up rate (59 percent).

In March 2021, for all major occupational groups, access rates for retirement benefits in state and local government were higher than in private industry. For state and local government workers, the only occupational group with an access rate below 90 percent was service occupations, at 85 percent. Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations had the highest access rate, at 97 percent.

These data are from the National Compensation Survey — Benefits program. For more information, see Employee Benefits in the United States — March 2021. We also have more charts on employee benefits.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 68 percent of private industry workers had access to retirement plans in 2021 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/68-percent-of-private-industry-workers-had-access-to-retirement-plans-in-2021.htm (visited December 08, 2022).