Colin Barr

Following the money in banking, economics, and Washington

Goldman average pay slides to $430,700

January 19, 2011: 9:47 AM ET

A trading slowdown at Goldman Sachs is hitting the firm's employees where it counts.

The average paycheck at Goldman (GS) tumbled 14% from a year ago to $430,700, according to numbers released Wednesday by the firm in its fourth-quarter earnings release.

Maybe less is more?

The decline is in line with the 13% drop in 2010 revenue at Goldman. Its top line tumbled to $39.2 billion from $45.2 billion a year earlier, as market-making income plunged by $8 billion. Finance chief David Viniar blamed "macro concerns" such as the latest round of euro debt concerns for the pullback in trading activity.

The lone bright spot for Goldman on the revenue front was a near tripling in  "other principal transactions," which surged to $6.9 billion from $2.6 billion a year ago.

The 2010 average payout is Goldman's lowest since the loss-soaked bailout year of 2008.

Needless to say, though, few will shed any tears for the firm's 35,700 full-time workers – particularly not the top honchos who have made tens of millions of dollars in good years and have cashed in large amounts of stock.

A report Wednesday from the New York Times and Footnoted.org points out that three top Goldman execs – CEO Lloyd Blankfein, President Gary Cohn and Viniar – have each sold more than $90 million worth of stock since Goldman went public in 1999.

Though Wednesday's Goldman earnings report was disappointing, so far few investors are joining Blankfein et al. in selling their shares. Goldman stock remains a favorite of Wall Street analysts, and shares were down just 2% in early trading Wednesday.

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About This Author
Colin Barr
Colin Barr
Senior Writer, Fortune

Colin Barr has covered finance for Fortune.com since November 2007. Previously he was a writer and editor for TheStreet.com, winning a 2006 Society of American Business Editors and Writers award for "The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street," and for Dow Jones Newswires. He is a 1991 graduate of Penn State and lives in Port Washington, N.Y., with his wife Meena Bose and their two kids.

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