Wall Street lost more jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic than in any year since the 2008 recession despite profits and wages steadily increasing, according to a report released Thursday.
Jobs on Wall Street dipped by 3,600 in 2020, a roughly 2% decrease to 179,900 employees, according to a report released by the Office of the New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. Wall Street companies are projected to lose 4,900 jobs in 2021, while industry companies on a national level are expected to add 23,000 workers.
The 2020 dip in securities-related jobs marks a more than 30-year low of 18%, down from 33% in 1990, according to the report.
Meanwhile, securities industry pre-tax earnings increased to $31 billion during the first half of 2021, a 12.5% increase compared to the same period last year, according to the report.
DiNapoli told The Wall Street Journal that the industry could face challenges if profits remain low. “As we prepare for an eventual slowdown in Wall Street’s record activity, we need to ensure New York’s Main Street and its other vital sectors are also recovering.”
It remains unclear just how much of these changes highlight workers who moved out of the city to work remotely in areas with lower taxes and lower costs of living, according to the WSJ.
“After the demonstration of the ease of remote work, you’re seeing a migration of jobs to lower cost, lower tax locations,” said Kathryn Wylde, president and chief executive of Partnership for New York City, told the WSJ.
Wylde added that the current employment trend could hurt the city’s economy because the financial sector attracts law and accounting firms as well as many ancillary jobs, according to the WSJ.
Wall Street contributed 14% of economic activity in New York City during 2019, according to the report. Every lost or gained job in the financial service industry leads the addition or loss of jobs in a different industry.
The average Wall Street salary increased 7.8% from 2019 to $438,450, marking a 4.7 times higher average salary compared to the rest of the private sector, according to the report.
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