State worker retirements decreased this year from pandemic peak. What CalPERS data shows

State civil servants retired in droves during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the first nine months of 2023 saw a notable decline — the lowest number of state workers retiring since 2015.

About 6,000 state workers retired in January through September of this year, according to a Bee review of the most recent data from CalPERS. That’s down from about 6,900 retirements in the first nine months of last year.

Recent and coming pay raises may have prompted some state workers of retirement age to stick around a bit longer so that their higher salaries will figure into pension calculations.

Pandemic-era retirements peaked in 2020, when there were about 7,400 during the first nine months of the year. Only about 6,500 civil servants retired in that same time frame in 2021, then numbers climbed again the following year.

The full extent of the trend won’t be clear until the end of the year. Roughly a quarter of civil servants who retire each year do so in December. About 40% of annual retirements take place during the final quarter of the year, CalPERS data indicates.

Still, more state workers are retiring now than they were 10 years ago. About 9,300 people retired from state service in 2013, compared to a high of about 12,500 retirements in 2020. Last year, 11,500 state workers retired.

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