The newest report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) shows that between 2000 and 2002, the total retirement plan participation rate dropped from 44.1% to 41.8%. This means that, in 2002, 63 million of the 80 million workers who are eligible for an employer-based pension or defined contribution plan were enrolled. From a geographic perspective, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Maryland ranked among those states with the highest participation levels while Florida, Nevada and Colorado suffered low participation. "The good news is that small-employer, part-time, and part-year workers have higher retirement plan participation levels than they had a decade ago and have been able to sustain some of the gains after the downturn subsequent to 2000," according to EBRI's analysis. "Nevertheless, as the current jobless recovery continues not to produce a sizeable increase in employment, it is likely that more of these gains could be lost, as employers may not have to offer retirement plans to attract and retain workers." In 2002, there were 151 million people in the workforce, of whom 53% were eligible for an employer-sponsored retirement plan.
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