American workers' confidence that they will have enough money in retirement has yet to rebound from a sharp drop between 2022 and 2023, but confidence levels have slightly increased from last year, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

About 68% of workers now say they are somewhat or very confident in their future as retirees, which is up from 64% a year ago, according to a new EBRI report.

Confidence levels are still lower than in January 2022, when 73% of surveyed workers said they were somewhat or very confident about their retirement. Confidene nose-dived a year later after investors endured the triple whammy of a stock-market sell-off, correlated bonds and high inflation.

“Perhaps contributing to this upward trend is workers’ and retirees’ increased confidence in their income,” the report stated. “According to the U.S. Census, wage growth is now outpacing inflation growth. Americans are starting to feel this shift, as 28% of workers and 32% of retirees who are confident feel that way due to their finances: stable assets and steady income.”

Significantly fewer workers this year are worried that inflation will affect their retirement—78% compared to 86% last year. And the same goes for retirees—72% compared to 79% last year. However, among Americans who are not confident in their retirement prospects, 31% of workers and 40% of retirees said they feel that way because of inflation.

The 34th annual retirement confidence survey, conducted in January of this year, polled 2,521 Americans age 25 and older—1,255 workers and 1,266 retirees.

While 88% of workers and 91% of retirees expect Social Security will be one of several sources of income while in retirement, 62% of retirees reported Social Security to be a major source of income, which compares to 35% of workers who said they expect that will be the case.

Overall, many of the trends signal that employers and the financial industry are doing a good job educating workers about retirement and claiming social security, the survey found.

“Two-thirds of workers and three-quarters of retirees understand Social Security and the various employment and claiming decisions that impact their retirement benefits at least somewhat well,” the report said. “Additionally, almost three in five workers and four in five retirees have thought about how the age at which they claim Social Security can impact the amount they receive.”

But there are areas where expectations and reality diverge. Most workers, for example, expect to claim Social Security as soon as they retire at 65, but only 36% think all paid work will cease. Actual retirees found they retired earlier, at 64, and 74% of them said all work stopped when they did.

More Americans consistently now are trying to address perceived shortfalls in retirement savings, as the study found 51% have calculated how much they will need, the same as last year and up from 45% in 2022. As a result of their calculations, 52% of workers started to save more.

Perhaps another reaction to any perceived shortfall, more workers now—83%—said they’re interested in purchasing an annuity for their retirement, and a third said they would like to see annuities added to their employers’ retirement savings plan.

However, just 28% end up with a product that offers guaranteed monthly income for life, the survey found.

Overall, retirees, once settled into retirement, are finding it an enjoyable experience, the survey said.

“Not only are retirees managing their current expenses, but 58% say they are still saving for the future,” the report said. “In addition, they are planning for the next generation, as nearly two-thirds of retirees are confident they will have enough money to leave an inheritance.”