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Fewer Illinois state workers retiring this fiscal year

Published: Sunday, June 30, 2013 1:03 p.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, June 30, 2013 11:50 p.m. CDT

SPRINGFIELD – New numbers show that fewer Illinois state employees will have retired during the fiscal year that ends Sunday compared with the previous fiscal year.

About 3,100 employees will have retired in fiscal year 2012, compared with the 4,700 state employees who took their pensions during the previous fiscal year, according to the State Employee Retirement Systems.

“It’s definitely fallen off,” SERS Executive Director Tim Blair, told Lee Enterprises’ Springfield Bureau.

Blair said in a typical year about 2,200 state employees retire.

The retirements come as state lawmakers try to come up with a solution for the state’s $97 billion pension crisis. The state had more than 80,000 employees in the 1990s. Now that number is nearly 62,400.

There could be another explanation for the high number of retirements, Blair said. Members of the baby boom generation are aging and retiring and Blair said the retirements could be part of the increase.

“The number of retirements are still heavier than it was before this mess, but it also could be just a demographic thing,” he said.

He said he expects the annual retirement figure to hover around 3,000 for now.

“It’s probably the new normal,” Blair said.

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