America’s CEOs had a terribly rough 2009. Or so the national and regional executive pay surveys released so far this year would suggest. “CEOs See Pay Fall Again,” blared one headline early this past spring. “CEO pay rankings dominated by large salary cuts,” read another in June. “Silicon Valley bosses,” summed up still another, “get pay cut.” Month after month, the headlines have pounded home a remarkably consistent message: Corporate executives, here in the Great Recession, are suffering, too.
Corporate executives, in reality, are not suffering at all. Their pay, to be sure, dipped on average in 2009 from 2008 levels, just as their pay in 2008, the first Great Recession year, dipped somewhat from 2007. But executive pay overall remains far above inflationadjusted levels of years past. In fact, after adjusting for inflation, CEO pay in 2009 more than doubled the CEO pay average for the decade of the 1990s, more than quadrupled the CEO pay average for the 1980s, and ran approximately eight times the CEO average for all the decades of the mid-20th century.
American workers, by contrast, are taking home less in real weekly wages than they took home in the 1970s. Back in those years, precious few top executives made over 30 times what their workers made. In 2009, we calculate in the 17th annual Executive Excess, CEOs of major U.S. corporations averaged 263 times the average compensation of American workers. CEOs are clearly not hurting. Seguir leyendo “Executive Excess 2010: CEO Pay and the Great Recession”