By Samantha Masunaga
June 22, 2015

Chief executives of the country’s largest firms made 303 times more than a “typical” worker in 2014, according to a report from the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank.

That number seems high, but is lower than it was in 2000, when CEO compensation peaked at 376 times that of the average worker.

The report found that average compensation in 2014 for CEOs of the largest firms was $16.3 million, up 3.9% from a year before and an increase of 54.3% since 2009 when the economy began to recover.

Broken down more simply, the report says CEOs earn three times more than they did 20 years ago.

The report said the increase in CEO compensation reflects “improving market conditions” and a “general rise in profitability,” which also boosted corporate stock prices.

CEO compensation often increases when the stock market rises and firms’ stock prices increase with it, the report said. In fact, most CEO pay packages allow compensation to increase whenever the firm’s stock value rises, according to the report.

“It seems evident that individual CEOs are not responsible for this broad improvement in profits in the past few years, but they clearly are benefiting from it,” the report said.

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