The economy is seemingly grounding to a halt while the rising price of oil breaks records daily, and frightened Wall Street bankers are facing the worst round of layoffs in recent history.
But don’t shed a tear for C.E.O.s, at least not yet.
The median C.E.O. pay increased just 1.3 percent from 2006 to 2007, according to a recent study by the executive compensation research firm Equilar. A similar Equilar study, while not directly comparable, found that median C.E.O. compensation rose 6 percent from 2005 to 2006.
Despite the increase in median compensation among 233 S&P 500 chief executives polled by Equilar, the company notes, aggregate compensation fell by 1.9 percent from 2006 to 2007.
Total compensation includes base salary, bonuses, non-equity incentive plan payouts, and the grant date value of stock awards, among other compensation.
Median base salary among chief executives increased by 3 percent from 2006 to 2007, rising from $1,000,000 to $1,030,000.
With the economy mired in a prolonged slump, C.E.O. compensation has come under harsh scrutiny from analysts and shareholders alike. While the Equilar figures point to a downturn in C.E.O. compensation, the losses are moderate when compared to other sectors of the workforce, especially when looking at base salaries and bonuses.
Besides the median salary of $1,000,000, the median annual cash bonus for C.E.O.s was $1,837,080 in 2007, a drop of 4.5 percent but hardly a reason for C.E.O.s to jump off the ledge.