As 30 million Americans have lost their jobs over the last six weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic, America’s billionaires are becoming even richer.
According to a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning think tank, over the past 6 weeks, American billionaires have seen their wealth increase by $406 billion — a boost of just under 14% to their net worth.
An initial decline
The global pandemic has impacted everyone’s pockets, regardless of income. As the markets have been roiled by the coronavirus and broad economic shutdown, hundreds of billionaires saw their net worth decline. In total, 267 of the world’s 2,153 billionaires saw their worth decline below $1 billion, dropping off the billionaire list. But as some billionaires struggled, others, particularly in the United States, profited.
“U.S. billionaires have seen ups and downs over the same period. Their ranks increased from 607 to 614 people, but their total wealth declined from $3.111 trillion in 2019 to $2.947 trillion in 2020,” the report noted.
But unlike most Americans, the country’s wealthiest have managed to recover their losses, and in many cases increase their net worth.
After an initial decline, by April 5, billionaire collective wealth rose to $3.017 trillion from $2.9 trillion a few weeks prior. “The U.S. billionaires, the last couple of weeks seem to be ‘delinking’ from the U.S. economy,” said Chuck Collins, one of the authors of the report. “There are some huge winners.”
Just 5 days later, according to the report, their wealth surged to $3.229 trillion — surpassing their 2019 levels.
“Between March 18 — the near bottom point of the pandemic financial swoon — and April 10, 2020, U.S. billionaire wealth rebounded by $282 billion,” the report states.