Perfect Storm Prompts Changes in Pension Accounting

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Over the first half of the decade, pension and other postretirement benefit plans were hit hard by a perfect storm of economic forces. Investment returns were irregular and often less than expected. Falling interest rates caused employers' obligations to soar. And many old-line industries experienced a cash crunch that encouraged management to offer increased pension benefits in lieu of higher wages. A shift in demographics has resulted in far fewer younger workers and many more who have retired or are about to do so.

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