January 19, 2011 / 2:19 PM / 9 years ago

Goldman employees earned average $430,700 in 2010

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Employees at Goldman Sachs Group Inc earned an average of $430,700 each in 2010, down 13.5 percent from 2009 but still more than eight times as much as the average U.S. household income.

Goldman employees still look set to be among the best paid on Wall Street. JPMorgan Chase & Co paid its investment banking employees an average of $369,651, according to data the company posted on Friday.

Wall Street compensation emerged as a hot-button issue in 2009 and 2010 as politicians, activists and others complained that banks privatized their profits and socialized their losses.

In total, Goldman Sachs set aside about $15.38 billion for compensation expense in 2010 for its 35,700 employees, the firm said on Wednesday in reporting its end-of-year results. In 2009 it put aside $16.19 billion to pay 32,500 employees.

Goldman rival Morgan Stanley is set to release its compensation information on Thursday when it reports its fourth-quarter results. Last year, Morgan Stanley’s compensation pool was about $14.4 billion, about 10 percent less than Goldman’s.

The median household income in the United States is just more than $52,000, according to the Census Bureau. In Manhattan, that rises to about $68,400.

The compensation of investment bank employees is a closely watched figure in New York City, both for the tax revenue generated by their substantial salaries and for the economic boost provided by their spending.

Reporting by Ben Berkowitz

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