Wall Street bonuses rise as jobs decline

February 26, 2013: 11:50 AM ET
wall street bonuses
Wall Street bonuses are on the rise, but fewer workers are sharing the wealth.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

One upside to downsizing on Wall Street: Cash bonuses jumped 9% to nearly $121,900 last year.

Total bonuses rose 8% to $20 billion, according to New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. That's a reversal from 2011, when bonuses fell 19%, to a revised tally of $18.5 billion.

Overall, bonuses are still short of levels during the height of the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, when they totaled over $22 billion in each year. Average bonuses were also higher during those years, at about $140,000.

"Profit and bonuses rebounded in 2012, but the industry is still restructuring," said DiNapoli, in a press release.

Wall Street profits in 2012 didn't just rebound -- they tripled.

Broker/dealer operations in New York reported profits totaling $23.9 billion in 2012, compared to $7.7 billion in 2011. The comptroller described it as "among the most profitable years on record."

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However, fewer people are sharing the wealth. The industry -- dominated by firms like Goldman Sachs (GS), Morgan Stanley (MS), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Citigroup (C) -- has slimmed down since the financial crisis, which led to the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the sell-off of Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch.

There are 10% fewer jobs on Wall Street since 2008, the comptroller said, and fewer workers receiving bonuses.

Average salaries for the industry rose slightly from $362,900 in 2011. The comptroller didn't have the exact figure for for 2012.

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