Unemployment high while CEOs income increases 18%

A USA TODAY analysis of corporate filings through early July shows CEOs reaping huge 2011 payouts.

“Some of the gains are humongous,” says Paul Hodgson, a compensation expert for GovernanceMetrics, who expects more executives to reap big 2011 payouts.

Wall Street’s 2½-year bull market is fueling mega-paydays across a swath of corporate America, from aging industrial giants to young dotcom firms. Yet it also is highlighting the growing wage divide between executive suites and rank-and-file employees.

• U.S. workers averaged $46,742 in 2010, up 2.6% from 2009.

• A June GovernanceMetrics analysis found average compensation among S&P 500 CEOs rose to $12 million in 2010, up 18% from 2009 — and that’s not counting the potential multimillion-dollar value of stock or stock options, which are granted at set prices and provide holders profits as stock values rise.

How is it that CEOs are making more and more – showing corporations have money to hire more workers – but unemployment stays so high?