There's One Group That's Doing Exceptionally Well Since the Great Recession

There's One Group That's Doing Exceptionally Well Since the Great Recession
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

CEOs are doing fine. Chief executive pay has risen a staggering 54.3% at the United States' 350 largest companies since 2009. 

And while these execs were raking in an average salary of $16.3 million last year, the class of 2014 had to borrow $33,000 apiece to pay for college. No wonder the kids are depressed.

Perhaps the starkest contrast lies in how workers have been compensated by comparison: The Guardian reports that in 2009, employees at these same companies were paid an average of $53,200 a year. That number today? $53,200 a year.

The Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank, gleaned these numbers through an annual survey. For broader context, they explain that CEO compensation grew 997% between 1978 and 2014 — double the rate at which the stock market grew over that period, and more than 91 times the rate of employee compensation growth.

We now live in the starkest era of American income inequality since 1928. But it's 2015; the revolution will probably be tweeted.

The New York Stock Exchange.
Source: Richard Drew/AP

The takeaway: Much has been written about the disparate outcomes of our post-Recession recovery. While CEO paychecks have soared, median family income fell 5% between 2010 and 2013, according to the Federal Reserve. The Brookings Institute says the number of people living in distressed neighborhoods — areas with poverty rates higher than 40% — grew by 2.3 million between 2000 and the "recovery" period from 2008-2012. And black homeowners' wealth continued to fall an extra two years after white wealth stopped plummeting in 2009, resulting in an extra 13% loss for black households, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

The long-term sustainability of such rampant inequality has been subject to debate for years. But for now, we can rest assured that at least some of us are doing just fine. And by "some of us," I mean CEOs.

h/t the Guardian