The COVID-19 outbreak was a boon to Wall Street and the main pension fund for state government workers and retirees in New York state.
The value of the New York State Common Retirement Fund skyrocketed by a record 33.5 percent — from $194.3 billion to $254.8 billion, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli reports.
The historic increase in investment returns occurred during the fiscal year running from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 — the period when the pandemic ravaged New York, leading to safety shutdowns of businesses and massive unemployment that ravaged Main Street.
The record return is good news for local governments, which are required to cover a portion of the pension costs of their retired municipal workers. Higher fund investment returns means lower contributions are required for employers.
The pension fund paid out $13.7 billion in retirement and death benefits last year.
Local government or employer contribution rates are determined by investment results over several years to avoid dramatic fluctuations when the pension fund loses money.
“The state pension fund rode the market rebound from the depths of the pandemic and enjoyed the largest one-year investment return in its history,” DiNapoli said.
Unemployment has been on the rise