The average bonus on Wall Street last year was $176,500. That’s down slightly from 2022

FILE — People pass the front of the New York Stock Exchange, March 22, 2023. The average Wall Street bonus fell slightly last year to $176,500 as firms took a “more cautious approach” to compensation, New York state’s comptroller reported Tuesday, March 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)

FILE — People pass the front of the New York Stock Exchange, March 22, 2023. The average Wall Street bonus fell slightly last year to $176,500 as firms took a “more cautious approach” to compensation, New York state’s comptroller reported Tuesday, March 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)

The average Wall Street bonus fell slightly last year to $176,500, as the industry added employees and took a “more cautious approach” to compensation, New York state’s comptroller reported Tuesday.

The average bonus for employees in New York City’s securities industry was down 2% from $180,000 in 2022. The slight dip came even as Wall Street profits were up 1.8% last year, according to the annual estimate from Thomas DiNapoli, the state’s comptroller.

“Firms have taken a more cautious approach to compensation and more employees have joined the securities industry, which accounts for the slight decline in the average bonus,” DiNapoli told reporters during an online briefing.

DiNapoli noted the bonus pool of $33.8 billion was largely unchanged from the previous year, but spread out over more employees. Last year, the industry employed 198,500 people in New York City, up from 191,600 in 2022.

The average Wall Street bonus hit a record high $240,400 in 2021, compared to a relative low of $111,400 in 2011.

Though down slightly, the average bonus for 2023 was still far more than double the average annual pay of U.S. workers, which was just under $70,000 last fall, according to federal data.

But the bonuses were paid out in a city perennially ranked among the most expensive in the nation to live in. Manhattan, where the median rent is above $4,000, is particularly pricey.

Wall Street bonuses can exceed an employee’s base salary and are heavily driven by individual performance in a tough and turbulent industry, said Alan Johnson, a compensation expert for the financial services industry.

“People work very hard. So some of it is, in effect, combat pay for very long hours and a lot of stress. And there’s a lot of volatility in pay. And the other thing is, careers often don’t last that long,” Johnson said.

Wall Street is a major source of state and city tax revenue, accounting for an estimated 27% of New York state’s tax collections and 7% of collections for the city, according to the comptroller.

DiNapoli said that while the bonuses affect income tax revenues for the state and city, both budgeted for larger declines so the impact on projected revenues should be limited.

“We need New York to continue to be the global capital for finance because we all benefit from Wall Street when it is profitable,” DiNapoli said. “And when these bonuses are paid — and obviously the salaries are high and the bonuses are high and these folks spend money — that also obviously drives local economic activity as well.”

AP Business

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