Multiemployer Pension Plan PBC and PBCR Update

Previous Benefit Cost (PBC) and Previous Benefit Cost Ratio (PBCR) are metrics developed by the SOA for measuring the financial stress imposed on multiemployer pension plans (MEPPs) by the combination of unfunded liabilities and declining numbers of active participants. The original paper as well as subsequent updates may be accessed via the links below.

The most recent update, based on Department of Labor Form 5500 data as of Oct. 28, 2016, includes a complete year of reporting for 2014 and for 2015 roughly 50% of plans reporting, representing approximately 60% of the MEPP system liabilities. Here are highlights of must recent results:

  • While stress levels remain high, both PBC and PBCR show slight improvements from 2013 to 2014 for much of the MEPP system—indicating slight reductions in stress imposed by unfunded liabilities. In general, plans below with lesser stress levels show greater improvement than plans with greater stress levels.
  • Compounding the funding stress in the MEPP system, dependency ratios (the ratio of inactive participants—retirees and former workers not yet retired but no longer actively working under the plan—to active participants) generally continued to increase. With a slight uptick from 2013, by 2014 the MEPP system bore 1.75 inactive participants per active participant, compared to 1.40 in 2009.

To access the most recent update, click here. To access the full reports, click on the links below. If you have any questions about them, please contact Lisa Schilling at

Multiemployer Pension Plan PBC and PBCR Analyses

January 2017 Update

May 2016 Update

August 2015 Report

Multiemployer Plan Metric Calculator


The authors and SOA extend special thanks to the individuals who volunteered their time and expertise to support the development of the PBC, PBCR and/or associated articles, including the following actuaries. These articles do not necessarily reflect their views, nor the views of their employers.

  • Christian E. Benjaminson, FSA, EA, FCA, MAAA
  • Bruce Cadenhead, FSA, EA, FCA, MAAA
  • James B. Dexter, FSA, EA, FCA, MAAA
  • Paul B. Dunlap, FSA, EA, FCA, MAAA
  • Eric A. Keener, FSA, EA, FCA, MAAA
  • Lawrence I. Pollack, FSA, EA, MAAA
  • Zenaida M. Samaniego, FSA, EA, MAAA
  • Josh A. Shapiro, FSA, EA, MAAA
  • R. Dale Hall, FSA, CERA, CFA, MAAA, SOA Managing Director of Research
  • Andrew Peterson, FSA, EA, FCA, MAAA, SOA Senior Staff Fellow, Retirement Systems