Enrollment in the Thrift Savings Plan among employees under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) hit a record high in July.
At its monthly board meeting Thursday in Washington, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) announced that 87.5 percent of FERS employees are actively contributing to their TSP accounts.
The percentage just surpasses the previous record high of 87.4 percent in January 2003. Enrollment dipped steadily after that and eventually hit a low of 81.5 percent during the recession in 2009.
Gregory Long, executive director of FRTIB, says high enrollment in July can be partially attributed to the switch to auto enrollment.
Since 2010, new federal employees automatically enroll into the TSP at a contribution rate of 3 percent, unless they make an alternate choice. According to board statistics, less than 4 percent of federal employees opted out of the auto enrollment option in July.
Although participation is increasing, a lower percentage of participants are contributing full match to their TSP accounts.
“I’m disappointed that this metric is heading in the wrong direction,” Long said.
The FERS average deferral rate measures the percentage of employees deferring less than 5 percent. FRTIB’s goal is to decrease the rate by 1 percent or more each year.
But the deferral rate rose more than 1 percent, from 24.16 percent in fiscal 2012 to 25.48 percent in fiscal 2013.