America’s billionaires have got $484 billion richer during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report.
Data taken from mid-March to mid-May shows that the country’s wealthiest have profited from the health crisis.
The top five U.S. billionaires – Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett and Larry Ellison – saw their wealth grow by a total of $75.5 billion, or 19%, the report found.
The report, carried out by Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies’ Program for Inequality, used Forbes data for over 600 billionaires in America.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth increased by $25 billion, according to the report, while Amazon’s Jeff Bezos made a gain of $34.6 billion.
Elon Musk had among the largest percentage gain of billionaires during the two months, after his net worth jumped by 48% in the two months to $36 billion.
Between March 18 and May 19, the total net worth of the 600-plus U.S. billionaires rose from $2.948 trillion to $3.382 trillion.
In March, there were 614 billionaires on the Forbes list. There are 630 two months later, including newcomer Kanye West at $1.3 billion, the report found.
The increase in wealth for America’s billionaires highlights how the coronavirus has profited big, largely tech-based companies while the rest of the economy has struggled.
At least 2.4 million Americans filed new claims for jobless benefits last week, bringing the total number of people out of work during the pandemic to more than 38.6 million.
The new figure released by the Labor Department on Thursday is the latest wave of layoffs from the viral outbreak that triggered widespread business shutdowns two months ago and sent the economy into a deep recession.
An additional 2.2 million people sought aid under a new federal program for self-employed, contractor and gig workers, who are now eligible for jobless aid for the first time. These figures aren’t adjusted for seasonal variations, so the government doesn’t include them in the overall number of applications.
Economists had been predicting that the latest weekly jobless figures would bring the total to 40 million claims over the past two months.
The pace of layoffs has now declined for seven straight weeks. Claims have been gradually declining since hitting a record 6.867 million in the week ending March 28.
By historical standards, though, the latest number of weekly applications from the week ending May 15 remains immense.