As most American families continue to struggle with high unemployment and stagnant wages, CEOs at the country’s 350 biggest companies saw their pay jump 11% last year to a median of $9.3 million, according to a study conducted for the Wall Street Journal. Thesurvey looked at direct compensation — salary, bonuses, and long-term incentive awards — and did not include assets like stock options:
For the surveyed CEOs, the sharpest pay gains came via bonuses, which soared 19.7% as profits recovered, especially in some hard-hit industries. … Net income rose by a median of 17%; shareholders at those companies enjoyed a median return, including dividends, of 18%.
Corporate profits may be at sky-high levels, but they are not translating into shared prosperity for all. Median household income has fallennearly 5% over the past decade and in 2010 was $50,221. The lack of wage growth has made it difficult for average Americans to keep upwith rising prices on everything from gas to food.
This latest report is further evidence that the gap between the rich and everyone else is widening, with economic inequality in the US at its highest levels since the Great Depression.