Here’s How Many Jobs the Financial Sector Lost in Five Years

A blog about business and economics.
March 28 2014 5:17 PM

Here’s How Many Jobs the Financial Sector Lost in Five Years

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More than 390,000 finance and insurance jobs have vanished since the 2008 crisis.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The U.S. Census Bureau released some advance data from its 2012 Economic Census this week, and one statistic in it should come as no surprise: The past five years were dismal ones for financial institutions.

The finance and insurance sector—which includes everything from commercial banks to pension funds—shed more than 390,000 jobs from 2007 to 2012, the advance report shows. Actual revenue in the industry plummeted $1.4 billion, or nearly 4 percent.

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Breaking the Census data down a bit, job cuts were worst in the credit intermediation and related activities subsector, where employment dropped by 10.9 percent. The only subsector that gained workers was securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities, which added nearly 52,000 employees.

The bloodshed hasn’t stopped since then. Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray, and Christmas reported in December that the 60,962 layoffs finance saw in 2013 exceeded those in every other major sector (health care/products, industrial goods, retail, and computer). More recently, Deutsche Bank announced just a few weeks ago that it plans to slash another 500 more jobs at its investment bank.

Despite the continued layoffs, the lavish bonuses that Wall Street is famous for climbed by an average of 15 percent last year, to $164,530. That made it the best year for bonuses since 2007, according to estimates from the New York State Comptroller. At Deutsche Bank, Bloomberg reported, the next round of layoffs is being done in part to increase pay for senior bankers.

The industry as a whole may still be hurting, but it seems that things are looking up for the survivors.

Alison Griswold is a Slate staff writer covering business and economics.

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