Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
Top Exec Pay Soars; Average Worker Barely Staying Even
USA Today, working with data from Governance Metrics International, reports that last year, chief executive compensation soared by 27%, while average workers in private industry had income gains of just 2.1% -- which is about even with inflation. Median chief executive pay was $9 million last year, the highest since 2007. The median CEO bonus was $2 million. (Other studies show that CEOs of Standard & Poor's 500 companies enjoy average pay of $13 million to $14 million.) It is no surprise that Business Roundtable, which surveys 142 CEOs, finds that the economic outlook index is at its highest point since the survey began in 2002. But in March, the consumer confidence reading of the Conference Board plunged to 63.4 from a revised 72 in February. A score of 90 indicates a healthy economy. Consumer polls by Gallup and Reuters/University of Michigan also indicate the consumer mood is grim and getting grimmer.