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American workers are saving more for retirement

Whether it's a sign of economic strength, financial savvy or fear, more workers are bulking up their retirement contributions.

Twenty-one percent of working Americans said they are saving more for retirement than they were last year — the highest level reported in the past five years, according to a recent report by Bankrate.com. Alternatively, 17 percent said they are saving less than they were the year before.

Five years ago when the survey was first conducted, those saving less outnumbered those saving more by nearly 2-to-1. Then, only 15 percent were saving more than the previous year.

Meanwhile, fewer people said they aren't saving at all. Just 5 percent didn't contribute to retirement savings this year or last, an all-time low for the study, but only down slightly from 6 percent in 2011.

"It's indicative of an economy where more people are working and people are earning more." -Greg McBride, Bankrate

"More working Americans are saving more for retirement and fewer aren't saving at all. It's indicative of an economy where more people are working and people are earning more," said Bankrate's Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride.

Indeed, the economy continues to add jobs month after month while wage growth recently reached its highest level since the Great Recession, both of which have helped raise consumer confidence.

At the same time, more people are prioritizing their retirement savings than they have in the past, McBride said.

Of course, they could also be motivated by fear. Almost half of Americans in a separate survey said they were "very concerned" or "terrified" about the impact of increases in their cost of living during retirement.

Generation X and younger millennials (ages 18 to 25) made up the bulk of those boosting their retirement savings, Bankrate found. Americans who were saving less were those in the silent generation (age 71+) followed by younger baby boomers (ages 52 to 61).

Bankrate polled 1,000 adults in the U.S. earlier this month.