Profits on Wall Street reached $27.6 billion in the first six months of the year, an 82% increase over the same period in 2019, a report released on Thursday found.
The profits of the first half of the year are nearly equal to all of 2019's pre-tax earnings of $28.1 billion, according to the report released by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office.
Wall Street was aided in part by a $2.4 trillion stimulus and historically low interest rates of near zero that wiped out borrowing costs.
Main Street's financial picture, meanwhile, is far less rosy.
The report, examining the financial industry's performance in New York, comes as a devastating pandemic has shuttered small businesses, some never to reopen, and created unemployment spikes not seen since the Great Depression. The jobless rate in New York last month fell 10% for the first time since April.
“An injection of federal stimulus money, plummeting interest rates and rising volume in trading drove profits dramatically upward to a level hard to imagine in March,” DiNapoli said.
“Wall Street’s successful first half helps our state and city budgets because the securities industry provides an outsized source of revenue, but the rising profits on Wall Street are disconnected from the pain being felt on Main Street. Our economy, and Main Street’s businesses and workers, are badly in need of additional support, including action in Washington on a new round of stimulus and relief. Wall Street’s growth can only be sustained if there is broad economic recovery.”
Still, New York garners much of its tax revenue from the financial industry, making its health vital to the state's broader economy. Governor Andrew Cuomo is seeking billions of dollars in federal aid to make up for lost revenue as a result of the pandemic.
The industry had reached its highest employment level in 2019 since the 2008 financial crisis, but is now on pace to shed nearly 7,300 jobs this year alone.