Occupiers rise again as Wall Street suffers losses

Members of Occupy Wall Street dressed as “corporate clowns” yesterday in Bryant Park.

The same day Occupy Wall Street rallied against corporate excess, a new report shows New York’s once booming financial sector has not yet fully recovered from the 2008 economic collapse.

The city’s securities industry shed 4,300 jobs across the board between April and December last year, according to a report released yesterday by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Salaries grew, but bonuses are shrinking, according to the report. DiNapoli spokesman Eric Sumberg noted that salaries in the security sector grew 16 percent, to $361,180 in 2010; 2011 numbers are not yet available. But DiNapoli is expecting to see a 14 percent drop this year in cash bonuses.

The average lump of cash bonus last year was $121,150, down from $138,940 in 2010.

Even though the DOW closed above 13,000 on Tuesday — for the first time since 2008 — 2011 was “a difficult year on Wall Street,” DiNapoli said.

“The securities industry, which is a critical component of the economies of New York City and New York State, faces continued challenges as it works through the fallout from the financial crisis,” said DiNapoli.

Occupiers, who wanted to protest outside the Bank of America headquarters yesterday but were stopped by police, said Wall Street’s losses merely follow an economic crisis created by the bankers themselves.

Andy Stepanian, 33, an Occupy volunteer from Long Island, said OWS members do not want to see jobs stripped or lives ruined.

“The first instinct of people is to claim it as a victory,” he said. “‘Look at what we did, we made them cringe, we punched them in the stomach.’ But that’s not what’s going on here. … We’re not trying to hurt people.”

“It doesn’t have to do with how much those people make,” he added. “It has to do with how America is feeling.”

And still, a $361,180 average New York banker salary is five times higher than the average salary in the private sector, $66,110, noted the report.

Finance fallout felt citywide

According to Crain’s, 41 percent of renters below 96th Street worked in finance last year, compared to 58 percent in 2005. A recent report from the New York Building Congress noted that the city issued more residential permits in 2011, but the cost per unit declined — implying fewer high-end, luxury units.

OWS protesters arrested at park

On the eve of Occupy Wall Street’s most recent national day of action, eight protesters were arrested in Zuccotti Park on Tuesday night. Some of the 30 protesters who gathered brought sleeping bags, which are prohibited in the park. Others were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, according to police.

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro


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