Though financial markets are as unpredictable as ever, the once-frenzied floor traders at the New York Stock Exchange are finding themselves with less to do. The introduction of a hybrid electronic system in 2006 has trimmed the workload of the iconic floor traders, who instead play cards, watch movies, or surf the Internet for much of the trading day, the Wall Street Journal reports.
In 2001, floor specialists handled up to 15% of trading volume; now the figure is around 9%—and the number of traders has declined by half in 5 years, to around 1,500. Said one veteran: “I still go to the floor every day because there’s a part of me that keeps wishing to go back to the way it was. Realistically, I know that’s never going to happen.”