More employers are providing matches for employees’ retirement plans, according to Ascensus, a retirement and college savings services provider based in Dresher, Pa.

The firm analyzed data from 40,000 401(k) plans it administers for employers and employees and found 55 percent of employers funded a match for employees’ contributions in 2014, a jump from 52 percent in 2013.

“As more plans fund a match, it signals a shift in employer dedication to enhancing benefit offerings. It also points to an improved confidence in the economy, as more companies can invest in their employees’ retirement,” Ascensus says.

By the end of 2014, 18 percent of plans utilized automatic enrollment, a three percentage point jump from 2013. Plans in which employees are automatically enrolled have participation rates that are 14 percentage points higher than those for plans without automatic enrollment, the study says.

Retirement assets invested in model portfolios and target-date funds have increased from a little more than 17 percent in 2011 to more than 26 percent in 2014. According to Ascensus, technological advances and digital features of plans are becoming more widespread. Eighty-five percent of new enrollees sign up online.

“We continue to see the emergence of new approaches and tools in the retirement space leading to increased participation, but the ultimate goal remains to improve retirement readiness among savers,” says Geno Cufone, senior vice president of retirement administration at Ascensus.