A new report published by the Economic Policy Institute, Thursday, revealed that chief executives overseeing the top 350 United States companies earned 312 times more than their workers on average last year.
The spike comes on the heels of bosses receiving an average pay increase of 17.6 percent, compared to workers who earned a 0.3 percent raise in 2017.
In hard numbers, top U.S. executives and CEOs took home, on average, $USD 18.9 million in compensation.
The pay gap in the United States has risen dramatically, with some fluctuations, since the 1990s, according to The Guardian.
In 1965, the ratio of the boss to worker pay was 20-to-one. By 1989 the figure had increased to 58-to-one. The number spiked to its highest level one year later, with top executives earning 344 times more than the average wage laborer.
Top executive pay declined in the early 2000s and during the last recession, The Guardian reported. However, that trend has reversed rapidly since 2009.
Stock-related components of top executive compensation packages such as stock awards or the chance to cash in stock options help fuel the astronomical remuneration bonanza.
McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook earned a whopping USD$21.7 million in 2017. The average McDonald worker earned a median wage of USD$7,017.
“Over time I think there has been a loosening of norms,” said Lawrence Mishel, a distinguished fellow at the Economic Policy Institute.
“Everyone wants to believe their CEO is one of the best, so they look around and see what everyone else is being paid, and then they pay them a lot more. They think everyone is better than average.”