In a report that underscores the difference between the government and the private sector in retirement benefits, a study has found that only about two-thirds of private sector employees have access to a retirement savings plan through their employer and that only about half of private sector employees participate in such a plan by making personal investments.

The report from the Center for Retirement Research added that even of those who have a 401(k) type plan, fewer make investments than federal employees do through the TSP. In the TSP, about two-thirds of CSRS employees make personal investments even though they do not receive matching government contributions for doing so. Among FERS employees, all but about 10 percent invest personally.

The study examined data from several sources that show varying percentages of both eligibility and participation and noted that state and local government employees, like federal employees, are covered by defined benefit plans with few exceptions.

It concluded: “In the end, it is prob¬ably reasonable to say that about 50 percent of private sector workers participate in a retirement plan. Of course, a higher percentage will pick up coverage sometime over their worklife. But those workers who move in and out of coverage end up with inadequate retirement balances, and roughly one-third of house¬holds reach their sixties with no retirement plan at all.”