Knowing Your Government: State and Local Government Trends to Watch in 2018

Staff at the Center for State and Local Government Excellence annually predict what they think will be the top issues facing state and local government in the year ahead. The following are the “trends to watch” in 2018:

Chipping away at the retirement savings gap.  Local and state governments are making it easier for private sector workers and their own employees to save more for retirement. Listen to national speakers talk about automatically enrolling employees into a supplemental savings plan or setting up a statewide retirement savings plan for private sector workers here.

More job openings, but fewer qualified candidates.  In 2017, human resources managers reported that police officers, information technology, engineers, and health care positions were the most difficult to fill. Read the 2017 state and local government workforce trends report here.

Growing their own talent is a top strategy.  As more older workers reach retirement age, succession planning has become integrated into state and local government strategies to attract, engage, and retain employees.  Three leading state and local government organizations describe what’s involved in becoming a learning organization and how to develop a pool of employees who can become qualified to assume new responsibilities. Read more.

What elected officials need to know about public pensions.  This guide uses graphics to explain key facts about public pension plans and the role of elected officials in making sure their pension plans are well designed and funded.  Read more.

Borrowing costs are affected by the funded status of public pensions.  Several governments have experienced downgrades from ratings agencies related to their level of unfunded pension liabilities. Read the issue brief here.

Timely and complete pension reporting is more important than ever.  Communication lessons from major pension systems shed light on leading practices. Read more.

State and local government wages and salaries decline as a percentage of compensationAs pension and health care costs have risen over the past 10 years, wages and salaries have declined.  From 2006-2016, wages and salaries declined from 67% to 63% as a share of total compensation. See the infographic.

Funded levels of state and local government pension plans vary widely.  The average funded ratio of 170 state and local pension plans in was 72 percent in 2016, but there is a wide variation among plans, even within a single state. See the infographic.