As most American families continue to struggle with high unemployment and stagnant wages, CEOs at the country's 350 biggest companies saw their pay jump 11% last year to a median of $9.3 million, according to a study conducted for the Wall Street Journal. The survey looked at direct compensation — salary, bonuses, and long-term incentive awards — and did not include assets like stock options:
For the surveyed CEOs, the sharpest pay gains came via bonuses, which soared 19.7% as profits recovered, especially in some hard-hit industries. … Net income rose by a median of 17%; shareholders at those companies enjoyed a median return, including dividends, of 18%.
Corporate profits may be at sky-high levels, but they are not translating into shared prosperity for all. Median household income has fallen nearly 5% over the past decade and in 2010 was $50,221. The lack of wage growth has made it difficult for average Americans to keep up with rising prices on everything from gas to food.