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There are signs that the improving economy has begun to reach state and local governments, as they ease up on layoffs and compensation freezes imposed since the economic downturn of 2008. Key survey findings include:
33 percent report pay freezes, compared with 51 percent in 2012
18 percent report layoffs, compared with 28 percent in 2012
27 percent report hiring freezes, compared with 42 percent in 2012
Other findings include:
Twenty-two percent of retirement-eligible employees accelerated their retirement date in 2013, the same as 2012.
The number of governments making changes to health and retirement benefits remains high, with 56 percent modifying health benefits in 2013 and 44 percent making changes to retirement plans.
The change most often cited was to shift more health care costs from the employer to employee (reported 52 percent of governments that made changes). Twenty-eight percent of governments that made changes created wellness programs.
Twenty-nine percent of governments that had made changes to their pension plans increased current employees' contributions; 34 percent of these governments increased employee contributions for new hires only.
Increases in retirement age and service requirements for new hires were reported by 26 percent of respondents whose governments had made changes to the retirement benefit they offer.