The pockets of the American billionaires have grown considerably deeper since the beginning of the pandemic, as working families have continued to suffer from the economic impact of the outbreak.
Although the U.S. economy was hit by an unprecedented unemployment crisis, the collective wealth of the country’s billionaires has risen by $931 billion since March, almost a third, according to a new report.
The total net wealth of America’s 644 billionaires climbed from $2.95 trillion on March 18 to $3.88 trillion on October 13, according to Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).
This represented an increase of 31.6 percent based on the Forbes billionaires’ data.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, 56, led the rankings of the top 15 billionaires with net assets of $203.1 billion on October 13. He was followed by Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla’s Elon Musk.
Bezos owns about 11 percent of Amazon’s shares, which makes up the majority of his assets. The company is now valued at around $1.61 trillion.
When the corona virus broke through Wall Street this year and ended a record boom, the technology giants emerged stronger than ever and filled the pockets of their owners and investors.
Tesla boss Elon Musk’s assets rose by 277 percent or $68.2 billion to $92.8 billion between March and October as stocks have more than quintupled since the beginning of the year.
In July, Tesla became the world’s most valuable automaker after the company’s market value for electric vehicles exceeded that of Toyota for the first time. It is the Nasdaq share with the best performance this year.
Jeff Bezos’ assets increased by 80 percent or $90.1 billion over the same period, while Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg recorded increases of 20 percent and 85 percent respectively.
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In contrast, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly 62 million Americans lost their jobs between March 21 and September 19 as 98,000 businesses across the country were permanently closed. About 25 million people were still receiving unemployment benefits on September 19.
Collective labor income of private sector employees also fell by 3.5 percent from mid-March to mid-September, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In addition, during the pandemic, a total of 12 million citizens lost employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, while 22 million adults reported not having enough to eat last week, according to data from the Household Pulse Survey, collected September 16-28, including 14 million with children in the household.