The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

March 6, 2012
Poll: California state worker retirements declined in 2011

Fewer state employees took their pensions last year, reversing a four-year trend that had seen more workers going into retirement.

And if the first two months of this year are any indication, more state employees will hang on to their jobs longer this year.

According to statistics provided by CalPERS in the chart above, 10,671 state workers applied for service retirement in 2011, down nearly 8 percent from the year before.

For January and February of this year, just 2,703 state employees submitted their retirement papers, a 17 percent decline from the same period in 2011.

The data shows the number of state applications for service retirements, which CalPERS counts from mid-month to mid-month. More state workers retire during the January period, which includes applications from mid-December to the end of the month, because of the way the fund calculates when they can receive their first retiree cost-of-living adjustment.

The number of state workers entering retirement had been growing each year, fueled by the state's aging workforce demographics. No doubt that furloughs, threats of wages being withheld during budget impasses, concessionary contracts and other issues during former GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration pushed some employees to retire earlier than they might have otherwise.

(Click the tabs at the bottom of the table for charts and information about combined state and local retirement applications to CalPERS.)

Since there's no clearinghouse for exit interviews and no survey of why more state workers are sticking around, it's tough to say why fewer employees retired last year. What do you think?

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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