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The 2010 Wall Street bonus: $128,530

By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Wall Street workers may be feeling a little leaner since cash bonuses fell nearly 8% last year, according to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

But bonuses still averaged more than $120,000. And that doesn't take into account salaries or commissions, which can significantly bump up workers' total compensation packages.

Total bonuses paid to New York City workers in the financial securities industry fell to $20.8 billion in 2010. That's a one-third drop from 2007, before the financial crisis, DiNapoli said.

But don't take that as a sign of Wall Street weakness, because profits totaled $27.6 billion last year, second only to 2009, when the federal bailouts and low interest rates drove up bonuses by 27%.

On average, bonuses for Wall Street workers in the financial services industry dropped to $128,530 in 2010, from $140,730 the prior year, said the comptroller, insisting that the 2010 results are evidence of the changing culture of Wall Street.

"Cash bonuses are down, but that's not an indicator of a weakness on Wall Street," said DiNapoli, in a statement. "Wall Street is changing its compensation practices in response to regulatory reforms adopted in the aftermath of the greatest financial meltdown since the Great Depression. Past practices rewarded short-term gains at the expense of long-term profitability."

The financial securities' cash bonuses are an important contributor to New York State's tax coffers, but not as much as they used to be.

New York State had been getting roughly 20% of its tax revenues from Wall Street-related business and personal income tax collections before the start of the financial crisis.

The finance industry suffered steeper job losses than other industries. The securities industry in New York City lost 30,700 jobs during the recession, a 16% decline, which is 3.5 times the total job loss rate in the city.

The comptroller has been tracking Wall Street bonuses since 1985, when the Wall Street total bonus pool was $1.9 billion, with an average of $13,970. To top of page

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