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Alberta and Nova Scotia experienced the strongest growth in employment last month and the employment rates in both provinces hit record highs, says Statistics Canada.

There were 10,000 more people working in June. These gains pushed the employment rate in the province up to 72.2%—a new record high. Employment growth over the past year has been the fastest of the provinces at 3.1%, largely driven by gains in professional, scientific and technical services; trade; agriculture; and finance, insurance, real estate and leasing.

Nova Scotia also experienced a new record-high employment rate of 59.3%, pushed up by monthly gains of 6,200. Over the past year, employment in the province has grown by 2.2%.

Manitoba was the only other province to report monthly gains in June, with an increase of 4,000. Since June 2007, employment growth in the province has been 1.9%.

For all of Canada, employment was unchanged in June for the second consecutive month. The unemployment rate edged up 0.1 percentage points to 6.2%, still among the lowest in 30 years. Over the past 12 months, employment in Canada has grown by 1.7% or 290,000.

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U.S. Public Pension Plans ‘Reasonably Sound’: Report

A report by the United States Government Accountability Office finds that the funded status of state and local government pensions overall is reasonably sound.

“Currently, most state and local government pension plans have enough invested resources set aside to pay for the benefits they are scheduled to pay over the next several decades,” says the report.

However, while most plans’ funding may be sound, a few plans have persistently reported low funded ratios, which will eventually require the government employer to improve funding, for example, by reducing benefits or by increasing contributions.

Even for many plans with lower funded ratios, benefits are generally not at risk in the near term because current assets and new contributions may be sufficient to pay benefits for several years.

“In light of the initial estimates of the cost of future retiree health benefits, state and local governments will likely have to find new strategies for dealing with their unfunded liabilities,” concludes the report. “Although public sector workers have thus far been relatively shielded from many of the changes that have occurred in private sector defined benefit commitments, these protections could undergo revision under the pressure of overall future fiscal commitments.”

To read the report on the GAO’s website, click here.

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SEI Launches Target Date Portfolios for U.S. DC Plans

SEI has launched a suite of target-date portfolios for defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors in the United States.

The portfolios are aimed at higher returns in the earlier years and protecting accumulated capital in the later years, while continuously minimizing risks including shortfall, poor market performance, drawdown, longevity and inflation.

SEI also provides plan sponsors with an additional layer of fiduciary protection as SEI acts as a fiduciary when it comes to portfolio construction and manager selection, monitoring and replacement.

“Many current target-date fund providers only use internal managers or products and plan sponsors are correct in questioning if that truly offers the level of diversification and objectivity that is needed to meet retirement goals,” says Jim Morris, senior vice-president of SEI’s global institutional group. “With these portfolios, SEI is in a unique position to provide plan fiduciaries and plan participants with an institutional level of expertise and implementation.”

The company uses collective investment trust vehicles to offer portfolio options targeting retirement dates in five-year increments ranging from 2010 to 2050.

SEI is currently evaluating the possibility of a similar solution in Canada but it does not have a set timeline.

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CalSTRS Celebrates 95 Years

The California Legislature has recognized the California State Teachers’ Retirement System’s (CalSTRS) 95 years of service in support of the state’s educators.

CalSTRS was established on July 1, 1913 as the Teachers’ Retirement Salary Fund and paid 120 teachers $500 a year in benefits.

Today, with a US$170 billion portfolio, CalSTRS is the second largest public pension fund in the United States and administers retirement, disability and survivor benefits for 813,000 kindergarten to grade 12 and community college public school educators and their families.

“As the second largest pension fund in the United States, you shoulder a tremendous responsibility for the hundreds of thousands who rely on your expertise and sound investment practices,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in his letter to the board.

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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