Wall Street profits rose 21 percent in 2016, bonuses up 1 percent: report

A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street profits jumped 21 percent to $17.3 billion in 2016, while average bonuses in New York City’s securities industry rose by just 1 percent to $138,210, the state’s chief fiscal officer said on Wednesday.

Total profits were at their highest level in four years, reversing three years of declines, as lower revenue was offset by cost cutting and a drop in legal settlements and other non-compensation expenses.

“The jump in profitability is good news since the industry generates a significant amount of tax revenue for both the state and city budgets,” New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement.

Expenses not tied to employee compensation, including legal settlements, fell by nearly $3.8 billion, or 6.2 percent in 2016.

The industry, an important sector for the area’s economic activity, added 3,800 jobs last year to 177,000, the highest annual level since the financial crisis. But it is still 6 percent smaller than 2007.

Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Jonathan Oatis