If the minimum wage had increased as much as Wall Street bonuses since 1985, it would be worth $61.75 today.

By Sarah Anderson, Inequality.org

While inflation has wiped away wage gains for most U.S. workers, just-released data reveal that Wall Street employees are enjoying their biggest bonus bonanza since the 2008 crash.

The Inflation Divide

The average annual bonus for New York City-based securities industry employees rose 20 percent to $257,500 in 2021, far above the 7 percent annual inflation rate. By contrast, typical American workers lost earnings power in 2021. Average weekly earnings for all U.S. private sector employees rose by only 2 percent between January 2021 and January 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Exterior of New york Stock Exchange, largest stock exchange in world by market capitalization and most powerful global financial institute. Wall street, lower Manhattan, New York City, USA.

Unlike hourly wage data, average weekly earnings reflect the fact that many Americans had to cut back on work hours last year, largely due to Covid-related illness, lack of child care, and other family care pressures. The average weekly hours worked by U.S. private sector employees dropped from 35.0 to 34.5 between 2020 and 2021.

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