Wall Street profits for the first half of 2020 nearly matched profits for all of 2019, Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York state comptroller, announced Thursday.
Profits were $27.6 billion for the first six months of 2020, up 82% from the same period last year. Full-year 2019 profits were $28.1 billion.
"Barring a significant reversal," this year's profits will exceed those of last year, Mr. DiNapoli said, in a telephone news conference. "We still have another quarter," he cautioned.
Mr. DiNapoli attributed the profit gains to an infusion of federal stimulus money, a decline in interest rates and an increase in trading volume. These factors contributed to more securities offerings, especially debt, he said.
Mr. DiNapoli issued a report Thursday that identifies his Wall Street calculations as based on pretax profits of broker-dealer operations of New York Stock Exchange member firms. There are now about 120 firms compared with more than 200 before the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the report said.
Despite profit gains, Mr. DiNapoli remarked that these results are "disconnected" from the rest of the economy. Calling for more federal stimulus money, Mr. DiNapoli said "if Main Street will continue to suffer, it will have a sustained impact on Wall Street as well."
Mr. DiNapoli also forecast Wall Street job cuts this year could reach about 7,300, or 45% of the jobs created on Wall Street since 2013. Last year, the Wall Street securities industry had 182,100 jobs, which was the highest level since 2008.
Mr. DiNapoli's report also said:
- The average bonus paid to securities industry employees in New York City rose by 3% to $164,100 last year.
- The average salary (including bonuses) for these employees was $406,700 last year, or five times higher than the average for the rest of the private sector in New York City.
- The securities industry accounted for less than 5% of New York City jobs but 20% of all private-sector wages paid.
- Compared with nationwide securities industry employment, New York City's share was 19% last year vs. 21% in 2007 and 33% in 1990.
- New York City accounted for 90% of 202,300 securities industry jobs in New York state last year.