Targets of Wall Street protests may lose jobs, too
When the Occupy Wall Street movement began last month, protesters excoriated the 1 percent who live at the top of the nation's economic pyramid — saying they had prospered at the expense of the other 99 percent of Americans.
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — When the Occupy Wall Street movement began last month, protesters excoriated the 1 percent who live at the top of the nation's economic pyramid — saying they had prospered at the expense of the other 99 percent of Americans.
And now, some lesser players on Wall Street may be joining Main Street in feeling the nation's economic pain, according to data released Tuesday.
According to a report by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, 10,000 people now working on Wall Street can expect to lose their jobs by the end of the year. When combined with the 4,000 laid off in the securities sector between April and August, about 32,000 Wall Street workers since 2008 will have found themselves on the unemployment line.
The report comes as the Occupy Wall Street movement continues to grow, with demonstrations and arrests increasing across the nation. Dozens of protesters were arrested in Boston on Monday night, and hundreds were charged recently in New York City. Cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Seattle, have played host to similar demonstrations.
The 1 percent group was the target of a march Tuesday in New York, where protesters — some affiliated with Occupy Wall Street and some not — visited the homes of the very wealthy to point out the lifestyles of the rich and, to them, infamous.
When the march reached Park Avenue and East 93rd Street, protesters stopped in front of a building where they said Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase's chairman and CEO, has an apartment. Marchers screamed, "Where's our bailout?" and "How do we end this deficit? End the war, tax the rich!"
JPMorgan was among the banks that received a federal bailout, money it has since repaid.
Dimon got supportive words Monday from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is himself a billionaire executive, but whose East Side town house was not on the protesters' list of targets.
Dimon has "brought more business to this city than maybe any other banker in (the) modern day," the mayor said. "To go and picket him, I don't know what that achieves. Jamie Dimon's an honorable person working very hard. He pays his taxes."
DiNapoli, the state comptroller, said that the member firms of the New York Stock Exchange earned $9.3 billion in the first quarter of 2011, but profits declined sharply in the second quarter. "The Office of the State Comptroller forecasts that profits are unlikely to reach $18 billion for all of 2011, which is one-third less than in 2010," he said in a statement.
According to state financial officials, the securities sector accounted for about 14 percent of New York's tax revenues and up to 7 percent of the city's. One of eight jobs in the city is tied to Wall Street in some way.
Meanwhile, the average salary in the securities industry in 2010 grew by 16.1 percent, to $361,330, about 5.5 times higher than the average salary in the private sector, $66,120, the comptroller's office found.
The Occupy movement's central argument is that corporate greed has damaged the nation's economy while rewarding the rich, thus making income inequality in the country sharper.
Said DiNapoli: "Regulatory changes that reduce risk and focus attention on long-term profitability rather than short-term gains will enhance stability."
Additional information from The Associated Press is included.
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