Wall Street Is Doing Fine, Do Not Worry

A new report predicts that Wall Street's profits in the second half of the year will be only half as much as they were in the first half of the year. Not to worry—they're still doing okay.

Rejoice, for today is the day of the release of New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's report on how much money Wall $treet has been making lately! Always a grand and clarifying day for peasants and gentry alike. DiNapoli predicts that second half profits (among "The broker/dealer operations of New York Stock Exchange member firms," for the technically minded) will be around $5 billion, compared to $10 billion in the first half. The bonus pool this year, however, looks to be a bit higher than last year.

Here is some perspective on finance salaries, from the report:

The average salary (including bonuses) paid to securities industry employees in New York City grew rapidly from 2003 through 2007, when it peaked at $401,500. The average salary fell sharply in 2009 as the financial crisis deepened, but much of the loss was regained in 2010. Since then, salaries have remained stable, averaging $360,700 in 2012 (see Figure 4). While the 2012 average salary was less than the 2007 peak, it was higher than in any year prior to 2007, and was by far the highest average among the City’s major industries.

The disparity between the average salary in the City’s securities industry and in the rest of the private sector remains wide, even though recently it has narrowed slightly. In 2012, the average salary in the securities industry was 5.2 times greater than the average in the rest of the private sector ($69,200). At its peak in 2007, the average was 6.2 times greater. Twenty-five years ago, the average salary in the industry was twice as high as in other industries.

The report says that all told, Wall Street provides 16% of state tax revenue and 8.5% of New York City tax revenue. I don't think anyone would squeal too loudly if that were pushed up a bit, do you? I'm sure our friends on Wall Street would be honored to know that they were helping to support the less fortunate. They can afford it.

[The full report]