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Contribution Analysis for U.S. Multiemployer Pension Plans

This longitudinal study measures whether pension plan contributions paid down unfunded liabilities or met other benchmarks, such as regulatory requirements.

Highlights from the most recent update:

  • In 2016, 83% of plans that covered 69% of all MEPP participants received enough contributions to reduce their unfunded liabilities as measured with funding discount rates—down from 86% of plans covering 78% of participants in 2015. The decrease stemmed in part from increased unfunded liabilities in 2016.
  • Of the 83% of plans whose contributions were sufficient to reduce unfunded liabilities in 2016, half of them were on pace to eliminate unfunded liabilities within 8.3 years. Eighty percent of them were funding at a pace to eliminate unfunded liabilities within 16.8 years, and 90% of them were funding at a pace of 23.4 or fewer years.
  • Larger plans tended to be on a longer funding pace than smaller plans, and funding paces generally lengthened from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, half of MEPP participants were in plans with funding paces of 12.1 or fewer years, 80% of participants were in plans with funding paces up to 20.3 years, and 90% of participants were in plans with funding paces of as long as 33.6 years. The 2016 funding paces were roughly 17% longer than in 2015.


March 2019 Update

January 2018 Update

January 2017 Update

May 2016 Report

Contribution Analysis: U.S. Multiemployer Pension Plans Fast Facts

Thank You

The authors thank the following volunteers for their thoughtful arm’s-length review of the most recent study update prior to publication. Any opinions expressed may not reflect their opinions or those of their employers. Any errors belong to the authors alone.

Christian E. Benjaminson, FSA, EA, FCA, MAAA 
James B. Dexter, FSA, EA, FCA, MAAA 
Paul B. Dunlap, FSA, EA, FCA, MAAA 
James A. Nolan, FSA, EA, MAAA

Questions or Comments?

If you have comments or questions, please email

1 Internal Revenue Code §§431-432 and accompanying regulations set forth funding requirements for multiemployer pension plans.