A flood of expected retirements by New York state government employees represents an opportunity to save billions of dollars over the next few years by streamlining its workforce and reforming costly retirement benefits.

While most American workers don’t retire before reaching 62, the average retirement age for state employees is 58—a milestone already attained by 13 percent of state employees now working in classified civil service jobs in executive agencies.

The pace of retirements in the rapidly aging classified workforce is expected to accelerate to 6,500 a year over the next five years, up 18 percent from an annual average of 5,500 over the past five years, according to the Department of Civil Service.

Thousands of other workers leave the payroll every year for reasons other than retirement, producing attrition rates estimated at 14 percent for the classified workforce alone and 7 to 10 percent for all state employees. The savings potential is immense: On average, every 1,000 state employees represent nearly $83 million in compensation costs. The savings will be higher for positions now held by better-paid senior employees now approaching retirement.

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is a senior fellow at the Empire Center.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

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