Average Wall Street bonus rises to $172,860 in 2014

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The average Wall Street bonus rose 2 percent to $172,860 last year as the securities industry added jobs for the first time since 2011, the New York state comptroller's office said Wednesday.

Compensation climbed even as pretax profits at the broker-dealer operations of NYSE member firms fell 4.5 percent to $16 billion.

"Industry profits were lower because of weakness in fixed income and commodities trading, higher capital reserve requirements and the continued cost of legal settlements,'' Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said.

The securities industry in New York gained 2,300 jobs in 2014, but DiNapoli told reporters that many of those positions are linked to compliance.

"Compliance is a growth sector in terms of the employment picture," DiNapoli said.

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He added that job growth continued in January, but it was unclear if those gains would be sustained throughout the year. The employment numbers do not include hedge funds.

The securities industry contributes a significant chunk of revenue to New York City and state. It accounted for 6.7 percent of city tax revenue in fiscal 2014 and 19 percent of state tax revenue in fiscal 2013 and 2014, DiNapoli said.

Despite the gains, average bonuses still fell short of levels reached before the 2008 financial crisis. They peaked at $191,360 in 2006.

The bonus pool rose 3 percent last year, up to $28.5 billion.

- CNBC's Mary Thompson and Reuters contributed to this report.

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