Fewer state workers opt to retire; state’s financial upturn cited
The number of California state employees entering retirement is at its lowest level in four years, according to the latest CalPERS data, underscoring that the economic and political headwinds that once blew against government work have eased.
From January through September, 8,035 state employees put in their retirement papers, the fewest for that period since 2009.
September’s applications, 708 in all, marked a 30 percent decline from a year ago and the lowest tally for the month since the pre-furlough days of 2008.
“I think it is a combination of the fact that a lot of employees have retired in the past few years coupled with the more positive tone that is currently permeating public finance in California,” said Pepperdine state budget expert Michael Shires.
He credited Silicon Valley’s rebound and “the absence of a negative budget cycle” with giving employees a bit more security.
The state lowered retirement benefits for new CalPERS members, but those formula changes bypassed employees hired before Jan. 1.
“As a result, they are more comfortable staying put,” Shires said.