A recent study by the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute shows how these payments ripple throughout the state’s economy.
The economic activity generated by URS pension payments in 2021 supported more than 9,400 Utah jobs, $453 million in wages, and $84 million in state and local tax revenue, for an $859 million overall economic impact in Utah.
“Utah Retirement Systems supports nearly 70,000 retirees and their families through pension payments each year," said Andrea Brandley, Research Associate for the Gardner Institute. "Beyond this contribution, these dollars then circulate and multiply throughout Utah, supporting jobs, earnings, GDP, and tax revenues, playing a significant role in the Utah economy.”
In 2021, URS paid more than $1.8 billion in pension benefits to more than 67,000 Utahns, an amount so large, it’s equivalent to 1.1 percent of the state’s total personal income. For perspective, this is larger than the earnings paid by many entire industries in Utah, including motor vehicle and parts dealers, truck transportation, and repair and maintenance, according to the study.
The average portion of benefits paid through investment returns over the past 10 years is about 67 percent.
URS provides retirement and insurance benefits for Utah public employees. It serves more than 241,000 members and about 478 public employers, including the State of Utah, its local governments, school districts, higher education, and more. URS is a component unit of the State of Utah, governed by Utah Code Title 49.