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Apple's Steve Jobs highest paid CEO in America

Sure, he only makes a buck a year in salary. But stock compensation totaling almost $650 million makes Steve Jobs America's top CEO earner.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs was the highest paid chief executive in America for 2006, according to a list released by Forbes on Thursday.

Jobs only draws a dollar a year in salary, which puts him behind practically the entire employment base of the country in that category. But his stock compensation isn't bad. Jobs also owns Apple stock valued at $646.6 million last year, twice as much as the second-highest paid CEO on the list, Occidental Petroleum's Ray Irani. (Somewhere, there's a joke about an oil executive named Irani, but anyway.)

It certainly was a good year for both the oil industry and Apple. Apple reported soaring profits and shipments of both Macs and iPods, and unveiled the iPhone before the usual adoring crowd at Macworld. Forbes ranked Jobs at 36 in terms of efficiency, its term for evaluating performance measured against pay.

Fellow tech executives Terry Semel and Michael Dell joined Jobs in the top 10 highest paid CEOs in the U.S., at the fifth and sixth rankings, respectively. Neither ranked very high in the efficiency column, however, as the past year wasn't easy for either executive. Dell actually had to replace his former CEO, Kevin Rollins, amid a yearlong slide punctuated by an accounting investigation.