Just before the New York Stock Exchange went public in 2005, 1,366 brokers held seats, and now that’s down to only about 800, The New York Times reports. And in the next several weeks, the NYSE plans to close two trading rooms, reducing the trading floor to half the size its was at its peak in the 1990s.
Some even believe the NYSE is being reduced to a backdrop for financial TV shows, with most trades moving to electronic trading networks. In fact, as recently as 2004, 80% of trades for the stocks listed on the exchange took place on the floor, and today that’s less than 50%. Specialists now take part in only one out of every 30 trades, down from one out of seven five years ago.