Written by Ron Saathoff, director of the Pension Resource Department, International Association of Fire Fighters

As states like New Jersey and New Hampshire debate reforming the pensions of public workers, a new report finds that funds are recovering from the effects of the great recession.

The National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems, the largest trade association for public sector pensions, released a report surveying state and local retirement systems representing 7.6 million retired and active members and assets exceeding $900 billion.

NCPERS reports that over the last year funds have achieved an average investment return of 13.5%, nearly double the average target return rate of 7.7%. The survey indicates on average funds are 76.1% funded. Fitch Ratings considers 70% funded to be adequate. Defined benefit retirement systems have a long term investment outlook and are designed to be funded over many years.

While the great recession of 08-09 did have a negative effect of pension assets significant gains have been made since.In fact long term investment returns exceed predicted returns. NCPERS reports that returns over the last 20 years have averaged 8.2%.

See this related blog post on pensions.