Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Do people on Wall Street earn just $70,000?

On NBC's Meet the Press, Michael Bloomberg claimed that salaries on Wall Street aren't as high as many people think.
On NBC's Meet the Press, Michael Bloomberg claimed that salaries on Wall Street aren't as high as many people think.

In a time of public anger over salaries and bonuses on Wall Street, it is a rare public figure who stands up for the financial sector. But New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- who, not coincidentally, is the founder of a financial news service -- did just that on Meet the Press on Jan. 3, 2010.

Discussing what's happened on Wall Street since the sector's near-collapse in 2008, Bloomberg said, "You know, we have -- everybody is bashing Wall Street. (But Wall Street) is one of the big revenue generators for New York and New York City. That's how we pay our teachers, that's how we pay our cops, that's how we pay our firefighters. And I've always thought, if the elected officials in Michigan bashed the automobile industry, or in California, (information technology), or in Texas, oil, they'd be run out of town on a rail. And yet, every day I pick up the paper and everybody, it's kind of hard to find anybody that's not saying -- well, look, there are some excesses. But overall, most of the people that work in finance make $70,000, $80,000 a year, they're hardworking, and we want those industries to be here and not overseas."

The part that caught our eye was that "people that work in finance make $70,000, $80,000 a year." Many of us have the impression from the media that people who work on Wall Street earn much more than that. So we talked to experts and looked at the data.

We found Bloomberg's statement was technically accurate but misleading. We rated it Half True.