Wall Street Bonuses Surge 17%

After nasty 2008, firms set to make record $55B profit
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2010 1:06 PM CST
Wall Street Bonuses Surge 17%
Graphic shows annual average Wall Street bonuses since 1985.   (AP Photo)

New York state expects Wall Street bonuses for 2009 to total $20.3 billion, a 17% jump over 2008 that will bring the average bonus up to almost $124,000 from $112,000. At the largest firms, overall compensation is estimated to be up 31% to more than $340,000, and an analysis of the bonuses leads authorities to believe Wall Street profits may reach $55 billion for 2009, almost 3 times the previous record. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli calls it “unprecedented.”

The record profit would, of course, follow a disastrous $42.6 billion loss in 2008, CNNMoney notes. And though the 2009 bonus pool is much improved over that year, it comes nowhere near its previous highs. In 2006, Bloomberg reports, Wall Street firms paid out $34.3 billion for an average of $191,360 per employee. DiNapoli concedes that though taxes on bonuses are “vital” for the state, “there’s a lot of resentment.” The numbers are “good news from a revenue perspective,” he says. But “Main Street has not benefited.” (More Wall Street bailout stories.)

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