New York City Sheds Jobs As Wall Street Profits, Bonuses Surge

Wall Street, the literal eight-block stretch of offices in lower Manhattan, has fewer jobs, even as Wall Street, the collective industry of financial services, is smashing records.

So says a new report by New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the beancounter who took a magnifying glass to how the coronavirus pandemic impacted the state’s securities industry.

Are Workers On Wall Street Or Elm Street?

The DiNapoli’s report focused on the shift from employees working in the city to those in the suburbs and beyond, while noting the move hasn’t adversely affected profits or pay:

  • New York lost 3,600 employees in the securities industry in 2020, a 2% dip, and is expected to lose another 4,900 in 2021 — with the nation at large gaining 23,000 jobs in the securities industry during that time.
  • Profits have surged 12.5% year-over-year through the first half of 2021, with the industry raking in $31 billion, according to the report.

The New York exodus may just be a temporary change, but it is certainly enough to challenge the city’s status as the center of the industry: NYC’s share of jobs in the securities field is now just 18% — its lowest mark in 30 years, down from 33% in 1990.

Bonus Round: With a rise in profits comes a rise in bonuses. Bankers are expecting a 6.5% increase in yearly bonuses, according to the report, and the average annual Wall Street salaries has spiked 7.8% since 2019.

What Goes Up…: 2021’s first six months marked the second-most profitable first-half ever for the industry. But the report came with a note of caution: interest rates are rising, monetary stimulus is fading, and record profits are likely to subside.

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