US corporate profits and CEO pay rose in 2021 as inflation cut real wages

The corporate attack on the standard of living of American workers during the pandemic intensified in 2021. While inflation slashed the standard of living for most of the population, corporate profits hit their highest levels in decades, rising 25 percent. % year over year to $2.81 billion. The increase is even higher, 37 percent, when taxes are taken into account. This is the highest figure since records began in 1948.

Worker at an Amazon fulfillment center (AP Photo/David McNew)

At the same time, according to a report by Compensation Advisory Partners, US CEO pay increased in 2021 by an average of 19 percent across the 50 companies surveyed, a record amount. Leading the field was Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who received a staggering $246.6 million. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy received a pay package valued at $212.7 million, mostly from stock options.

Other charges included:

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook, who made $99 million last year
  • Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, who received $178.6 million
  • Chad Richison, CEO of Paycom Software, who was paid $211,131,206
  • Lawrence Culp Jr., CEO of General Electric, who pocketed $73,192,032
  • Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile, who received $54,914,015
  • Leonard Schleifer, CEO of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, who received $135,350,121.

Rising profits on Wall Street pushed the average employee bonus in New York’s securities industry to a record $257,500 last year, according to state officials.

Statistics on corporate profits and executive salaries expose the blatant profiteering of large corporations during the pandemic. Companies have been able to raise prices far beyond increases in production costs, greatly inflating profit margins.

According to a watchdog group report, the world’s top 25 oil companies made $237 billion in profits in 2021. Last year, oil giant ExxonMobil posted its biggest profit in seven years, $23 billion, as rising of oil prices added $100 billion to its sales. Saudi Aramco, a major oil and gas company owned and managed by the Saudi royal family, reported $110 billion in profit last year, a 124 percent increase from 2020.

Logistics giant Amazon reported $33.4 billion in after-tax profit in 2021, up from $21.3 billion in 2020.

Despite COVID and chip shortages, US auto companies enjoyed a surge in profits. Ford posted $17.9 billion in after-tax profit, following a loss in 2020. GM reported $14.3 billion in profit in 2021.

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