This study analyzes data on specific private sector pension plans (referred to as “multiemployer plans”) to assess the overall national economic impact of benefits paid by these plans to retirees.

We estimate the employment, output, value added, and tax impacts of pension benefit expenditures from multiemployer plans at the national level, and find that the economic gains attributable to private sector multiemployer DB pension expenditures are considerable.

In 2016, $41.8 billion in pension benefits were paid to 3.5 million retired Americans covered by multiemployer plans. The average benefit paid to retirees covered by these plans was $11,935 per year. Expenditures made out of those pension payments collectively supported:

  • Nearly 543,000 American jobs that paid nearly $28 billion in labor income
  • $89 billion in total economic output nationwide;
  • $50 billion in value added (GDP); and
  • $14.7 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue.

The largest employment impacts occurred in the real estate, food services, health care, and retail trade sectors.

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Source: National Institute on Retirement Security