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News Release

EBSA Press Release: Labor Secretary Alexis M. Herman Stresses the Importance of Retirement Savings [10/28/1997]

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

For more information call: (202)219-7316

Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman has launched an educational campaign to encourage more Americans to start preparing for their retirement. The initiative, Retirement Savings Education Campaign (RSEC), was designed to educate American workers about the importance of planning and saving for retirement. Too many American workers and their families may not be saving enough to maintain their standard of living after they stop working. The Secretary hopes the education campaign will be especially helpful for women and low wage workers who have historically received lower pension coverage rates.

"This situation is particularly critical for Hispanic Americans, who may face special challenges," said Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman. "While Hispanic men have the highest labor force participation rate of any group in the United States, Hispanics have historically earned lower wages and are less likely to be covered by a pension plan. In fact, less than one third of working Hispanics have pension coverage and that number has been declining. Even when they are covered, Hispanics receive lower average pension benefits," she added.

According to 1997 Labor statistics:

  • There are about 12.3 million Hispanic Americans in the workplace, but only 32 percent participate in employee pension plans, compared to 44 percent of other minorities and 51 percent for whites.
  • Only 32 percent of Hispanics age 55 and over received pensions, compared to 40 percent for blacks and 52 percent for white retirees.
  • Between 1979 and 1993, the rate of pension participation for Hispanics declined, falling five percentage points, while white participation rates increased one percent.
  • Among retired public-sector workers, the pension receipt rate is 63 percent for Hispanics, 58 percent for blacks and 72 percent for whites.
  • Both Hispanic men and women have a disproportionately low median-earnings level. In 1996, median year-round, full-time earnings for Hispanic men were $21,056 less than two thirds of white men ($32,966) and significantly less than that of black men ($26,404).

Secretary Herman says women and minority groups too often do not have retirement security and the education effort to change that is one of her top five initiatives.

Brochures and other printed materials regarding RSEC and what steps minorities and women face regarding retirement security are available in English and Spanish in the Pension Welfare and Benefits Administration (PWBA) office at the Department of Labor. You can also get copies of the brochures by calling 1-800-998-7542 or by visiting our Internet site at:

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employee Benefits Security Administration
October 28, 1997
Release Number