$1.5 billion: Unfunded liabilities a problem for Mississippi pension system

The Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi added $1.5 billion to its unfunded liabilities and more than 5,500 new retirees in 2015.

Mississippi’s defined-benefit pension system — which serves most state, county and municipal employees — has $16 billion in unfunded liabilities and is far below an 80 percent funding level, considered the benchmark for a healthy pension fund.

The plan’s return on its investments decreased to 3.4 percent, and the funding level — the share of future obligations covered by current assets — decreased from 61 percent to 60.4 percent, according to its annual financial report released Wednesday.