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By Denver Nicks
May 17, 2016
Rob Friedman—Getty Images

The average S&P 500 CEO in the United States earned 335 times more per hour than the average worker last year, according to the data released Tuesday by the AFL-CIO labor union.

At $12.4 million, CEOs of major American companies actually made less in 2015, on average, than they did in 2014, when the average CEO earned $13.5 million, or 373 times more than the average worker. Average CEO pay in 2015 was still higher than it was in 2013: $11.7 million, or 331 times the average worker’s earnings.

“The income inequality that exists in this country is a disgrace. We must stop Wall Street CEOs from continuing to profit on the backs of working people,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a statement accompanying the study. “It’s shameful that a CEO can make that type of money and still destroy the livelihood of the hard-working people who make the company profitable.”

The average nonsupervisory worker earned roughly $37,000, “a wage that when adjusted for inflation” according to the AFL-CIO, “has remained stagnant for 50 years.”

How worker compensation compares to that of CEOs has received increased scrutiny in recent years, as income inequality has become an increasingly hot-button issue in America. In 2015, under pressure from Democrats and labor unions, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a new rule to comply with the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill that will require companies to make public the ratio of median worker compensation compared to that of their chief executive officers. The rule goes into effect in 2018.

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The AFL-CIO report also notes that the highest paid CEOs are those overseeing companies that, according to the labor union, enjoy the highest levels of untaxed, offshore profits, like Apple, Pfizer and Microsoft Corp. According to the report, “CEOs at the 25 S&P 500 companies with the most unrepatriated profits are paid 79% more than the other S&P500 CEOs.”

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Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

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