Participants in 401(k) plans have shown little signs of panic, despite deep market losses and the uncertain economy, according to Vanguard.

The fund company has found that plan participants continue to invest for retirement through the workplace programs and have engaged in only modest trading activity through the turbulent market.

They have also experienced "overall losses far milder than the precipitous declines of the U.S. and international stock markets," according to Vanguard.

The report was based on the 2008 plan-based behavior of more than 3 million 401(k) participants in more than 2,200 defined contribution plans administered by Vanguard.

Among the findings:


-       More participants are accessing a balanced, diversified automatic investment solution, such as target-date funds. The report cited the Pension Protection Act of 2006, and the creation of default investment baskets, as helping steer investors into balanced investments.

-       Automatic enrollment is leading to more workers being covered by retirement plans. Vanguard noted that automatic enrollment plans administered by Vanguard have a participation rate of 84%, compared to a participation rate of 60% for voluntary 401(k) plans.