NC public pension fund value fell $17B in 2008

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina's public employee pension funds lost $17 billion in value in 2008. But the new state treasurer says the retirement system remains generally solid.

Treasurer Janet Cowell announced Friday a nearly 20 percent loss on returns during the year. The fund is n ow valued at $60 billion, down from $77 billion a year ago.

Cowell says the stock market decline and the worldwide recession are to blame. Returns on public equity fell by 40 percent alone.

Cowell said she expects the funds still outperformed most other state pension funds during 2008. She says there's still plenty of cash to pay retiree checks.

The pension funds cover 820,000 government employees, teachers, emergency officials and retirees.

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