The number of California state workers who applied for retirement in July fell 21 percent when compared with the same month one year ago, the second-largest decline in the rate of first-time pensioners in 2012.
Some 848 employees took their pensions, marking the fewest to do so in July since 2008, according to new CalPERS figures.
For the first seven months of this year, 6,460 state workers submitted their applications to retire, down from 6,975 from January through July 2011.
The dropoff last month is particularly significant because, as the chart above shows, more state workers retire in July at the state's fiscal year-end than any other month except January. CalPERS retirement application data runs mid-month to mid-month.
The decline in the retirement rate runs counter to conventional wisdom that state retirements should be on the rise as more and more baby boomers exit. Several factors contribute to the trend. Among them is the lingering impact of the furloughs of two or three days a month from 2009 to 2011, which contributed to a spike in retirements.
High unemployment in California and an agreement between Gov. Jerry Brown and SEIU Local 1000 to cut retired annuitant jobs have squeezed retiree job options and probably persuaded some employees to stick around when they might have left otherwise.
Scroll over the interactive chart above for more details. If you want to dive in more deeply, click the link below to open spreadsheets that include CalPERS retiree data for state workers and for all fund members from 2007 through last month.