The rate at which state workers filed their retirement papers between Jan. 15 and Feb. 15 rose 10 percent compared to the same period last year, according CalPERS' figures (see the table above), marking the fourth month in a row that more employees retired than the same period a year earlier.
More broadly, the retirement data shows that the rate of year-over-year monthly applications has increased in 29 of 38 times since January 2008.
The trend reflects the demographics of the state's aging workforce and, at least to some degree, the impact of furloughs, recent increases in what many employees pay toward their pensions and other factors that have made working for the state less attractive to long-time state workers.
February retirement applications usually drop off sharply when compared with January (which CalPERS defines as Dec. 15 to Jan. 15). Up to a quarter of retiring state employees time their departures for the end of the year. The biggest reason: CalPERS rules delay initial pension cost-of-living adjustments until the May following a retiree's first full calendar year away from service.
Speaking of COLAs, here are the cost-of-living adjustments that take effect in May for CalPERS retirees: