Even when profits slip on Wall Street, bonuses are good.
An analysis released by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli on Wednesday shows that bonuses paid out in the financial sector are rebounding to levels not seen since before the 2008 financial crisis.
The increase comes even though 2014 was a less profitable year overall.
The comptroller estimates that the average bonus paid was $172,860 in 2014. That was a 2% increase over the previous year, and is nearing the 2007 average bonus paid of $177,830.
Industry profits were down in 2014 by 4.5% to $16 billion, DiNapoli’s office said.
The sector has been buffeted by new regulatory restrictions imposed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Banks have also had to shell out funds to pay legal settlements from the crisis.
In spite of the drop in profits, the sector added 2,300 jobs, marking the first time the city’s securities industry saw a gain in employees since 2011. DiNapoli’s office also said that the bonus pool for the securities industry had grown 3% to $28.5 billion for 2014.
James Parrott, of the independent Fiscal Policy Institute, said the comptroller’s estimate is just another sign that the city’s economy has been diversifying beyond Wall Street and its bonuses.
“The bigger story is that New York City is just less reliant on Wall Street than it used to be,” he said. “And that’s a good thing.”
Deborah Axt, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, said the report was “just another indication that Wall Street continues to reap the fruits of the economic recovery, while working-class New Yorkers continue to struggle to make ends meet.”
The group, which advocates for working class New Yorkers, has been calling on the governor and State Senate to adopt a $15 an hour minimum wage proposal. Axt said that, given the large bonuses, a minimum wage increase is “the least our state can do to ensure that all its working families can sustain themselves.”
The DiNapoli estimate is based on cash bonuses, and doesn’t include bonuses paid in stock.
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