Railroad Retirement:

Future Rail Employment and Trust Fund Solvency

HRD-89-30: Published: Apr 5, 1989. Publicly Released: May 8, 1989.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

In response to a congressional request, GAO assessed the railroad retirement program, focusing on: (1) factors influencing the level of railroad employment; and (2) independent estimates of rail employment used to project the financial state of the railroad retirement trust fund.

GAO found that: (1) railroad employment had dropped over 40 percent since 1980 and was likely to continue to decline to 200,000 or less due to evolution to a more service-oriented economy, economic conditions, and deregulation; (2) three organizations' rail employment forecasts, which presented optimistic, intermediate, and pessimistic employment scenarios, showed the level of rail employment by 2010 ranging from 185,000 to 71,000; (3) the forecasts projected that the railroad retirement account would pay benefits into the next century, but difficulties would begin to occur in about 2009; (4) although a 1988 rail payroll tax increase averted a cash-flow crisis that appeared imminent several years ago, a similar crisis could develop sometime after 2005 if current pessimistic projections become true; and (5) unanticipated declines in employment could accelerate the cash-flow crisis date.

Nov 16, 2020

Nov 10, 2020

Nov 9, 2020

Nov 6, 2020

Oct 13, 2020

Sep 30, 2020

Sep 9, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here