Region Focus Cover

December 2, 2010

Richmond Fed Publication Examines the Health of Public Pensions

Richmond, Va.

Millions of Americans receive — or plan to receive — retirement benefits from public pension plans. But the financial viability of many of those plans has come under scrutiny recently. Some observers worry that already precarious funding levels are likely to worsen, while others believe they will gradually improve as the economy recovers. The cover story of the latest issue of Region Focus examines this looming issue and considers options for putting public pensions on track toward better financial health.

Also in this issue:

  • Changing Economics of the Music Industry. As CD sales continue to fall and online downloads increase, can musicians and record companies adapt to the digital future?
  • European Debt Crisis. Fiscal problems in a number of European countries have raised concerns about long-term economic performance across the Atlantic and what this may mean for the American economy.
  • Shadow Banking. The financial crisis has shed light on the so-called "shadow" banking sector, which some economists have argued was the center of much of the turmoil. Understanding how this sector operates and the role it plays in the overall economy is key to reforming it.

Region Focus, a quarterly business magazine published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, covers the economy and business activities of the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and most of West Virginia. For free copies of Region Focus, contact the Bank's Research Publications division at 800.322.0565. The articles are available online at

The Richmond Fed serves the Fifth Federal Reserve District, which includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and most of West Virginia. As part of the nation's central bank, we're one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that work together with the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors to strengthen the economy and our communities. We manage the nation's money supply to keep inflation low and help the economy grow. We also supervise and regulate financial institutions to help safeguard our nation's financial system and protect the integrity and efficiency of our payments system.


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