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For the first time since 2010, participation in workplace-based retirement plans grew in 2013, the Employee Benefit Research Institute reports.

The participation percentage among employees grew to 40.8 percent last year, up from 39.7 percent in 2010.

The research institute said the number of employees participating in their employment-based retirement insurance plans rose to 64.2 million, the highest number since 2007.

Craig Copeland, senior research associate at the institute, attributed the growth to overall improvement in the labor market, which put more workers in jobs that offered retirement benefits.

Among all Americans, Census data indicates that slightly more than half — 51.3 percent — worked last year for an employer or union that sponsored retirement plans. The 40.8 percent participation rate shows that three out of four wage and salary workers chose to participate in their employment-based retirement plan.

The institute charted higher plan participation among whites than among blacks and Hispanics. Higher education levels also correlated to greater retirement plan participation. Participation was higher in large firms than small firms. And workers in manufacturing, transportation, utilities, information and finance were more likely to participate than were workers in other service industries.

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