The number of workers saving for retirement has dropped since last year along with workers’ overall level of confidence in having a sufficient amount of money to retire comfortably, according to an annual survey issued today by the Employee Benefit Research Institute of Washington D.C.

The 2001 Retirement Confidence Survey measures attitudes, confidence and readiness for retirement, and is based on the responses of 1,000 retired and working individuals polled between January and February, according to EBRI.

The overall number of respondents who indicated that they are currently saving for retirement dropped from 75 percent in 2000 to 71 percent in 2001. That could be the result of declining markets and rising unemployment, said Dan Devine, an EBRI spokesperson.

“People are taking a short term look at saving for retirement, especially with all the pink slips that are flying,” he said. “They are reallocating their resources.”

Also, only 63 percent of the survey’s respondents indicated that they feel confident they will be able to retire comfortably versus 72 percent in 2001. Turbulent markets and escalating health costs could explain why more workers are feeling less confident, Devine said.

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