For people working in investment banking, especially those in and around Wall Street, it’s hard to deny that late 2005 and early 2006 was very, very good to them. With steady employment totals, very handsome bonuses being handed out in fourth quarter 2005, and even larger ones awarded in first quarter 2006, it would seem to be an understatement to say that investment banking was thriving. In first quarter 2006, private sector investment banking and securities dealing recorded average weekly wages of $8,367, well above that of any industry with the exception of the other Wall Street bonus giant, securities brokerage. The investment banking industry’s quarterly total wages ranged from $6 billion to $18.9 billion in late 2005 and early 2006 and the industry’s average weekly wage was nearly 10 times the national average.
Within this industry a small number of counties accounted for a large proportion of the wages. Five counties were responsible for 71.8 percent of total wages in investment banking during the first quarter of 2006. Fairfield, Connecticut, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Cook County, Illinois, combined for wages of $13.5 billion from January through March 2006. During this time, 38.3 percent of March employment in investment banking was within these five counties.