The Financial Times published its annual survey of executive compensation at the largest American and European banks on Sunday, noting the 2012 average of $11.5 million is a 10 percent slide from 2011. But the number is still almost twice the average for 2009, the year after a series of bank collapses kicked off the largest financially induced employment crisis since the Great Depression.
Over the same period, however, worker compensation has stagnated. “Hourly pay has grown by just 2 percent per year, on average, for the past four years, the weakest four-year stretch on record,” the Huffington Post reported in early June. By one inflation-adjusted measure of hourly compensation, workers are actually making less than they did in 2009.
The trend may be more acute and more aggravating in the years since the financial crisis, but it’s been going on for decades. Executive compensation all across the economy has grown 127 times faster than worker pay since 1978.