The chief executive officers of the S&P 500 Index companies received, on average, $12.3 million in total compensation for 2012. In contrast, rank-and-file workers’ wages in the United States averaged just $34,645. Overall, CEOs of S&P 500 Index companies made 354 times the average wages of rank-and-file workers in 2012.
|2012 Average CEO Pay at S&P 500 Index Companies|
|Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation||
|Pension and Deferred Compensation Earnings||
|All Other Compensation||
Compared with 2011, average CEO pay levels fell 5% in 2012, in large part because of one CEO who skewed the averages. In 2011, Apple’s new CEO Timothy Cook received $378 million, compared with just $4.2 million in 2012. Excluding Apple’s CEO pay from the calculations, average CEO pay would have increased 5% in 2012.
Our economic system has become so rigged that no matter what happens, the rich keep getting richer and working families continue paying for it in the form of slashed jobs, wages, health benefits and retirement. From 2009 to 2011, incomes for the bottom 99% of American households fell 0.4%, while the incomes of the wealthiest 1% grew by 11.2%.
Working behind closed doors to make that happen are groups such as the Business Roundtable and the CEOs of “Fix the Debt,” which have been drumming up deficit-hysteria to mask their efforts to secure even more tax cuts for corporations while plotting to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits for working people.
Meanwhile, millions of Americans are still looking for work and struggling to make ends meet. The unemployment rate did not fall below 7.8% during 2012. Making matters worse, Republicans in Congress have imposed across-the-board budget cuts—called sequestration—that will cost 750,000 jobs in 2013.
 AFL-CIO analysis of 327 companies, which disclosed CEO pay data as of April 1, 2013, as provided by Salary.com.
 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Employment Statistics Survey—Table B-2: Average hours and earnings of production and non-supervisory employees on private non-farm payrolls.
 Striking It Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States, Emmanuel Saez, University of California, Berkeley, Jan. 23, 2013.