October 18, 2017


Employer-provided plans are a key element of our nation’s retirement system and have contributed to the financial security of American workers for over a century. In 2016 alone, private employers spent more than $242 billion on retirement income benefits. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has prepared this publication to exemplify the efforts of these employers to ensure a financially sound future for their employees.

The number of workers being offered retirement plans continues to rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 66% of American workers had access to a retirement plan from their employer through a mix of defined contribution and defined benefit plans in 2016. This is up significantly from the turn of the century, when only 48% of American workers were offered a retirement plan in 1999.

Among several retirement security vehicles discussed in this publication, defined contribution plans continue to be a popular source for retirement savings for workers. According to the BLS, 62% of employees (more than 95 million participants) were eligible to participate in these types of plans in 2016. Additionally, among employers that made both profit-sharing and 401(k) contributions, the average employer contribution was 5.5% of employee pay. Defined benefit retirement plans are also still prevalent among workers, with over 41 million private sector participants in the U.S.

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