Between the middle of March to the middle of May, billionaires have seen their fortunes rocket to $434 billion during the pandemic lockdown. Jeff Bezos, head of Amazon, and Mark Zuckerberg, head of Facebook, received the highest gains across the board. According to a report from Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies Program for Inequality, Bezos gained $34.6 billion while Zuckerberg gained $25 billion. This report is based on Forbes data for approximately 600 American billionaires during March when most states were in lockdown and the gains continued until May 19.
There’s no doubt these billionaires were rewarded by the coronavirus, while the economy and labor force struggle with the worst economic crisis seen in recent history.
Overall, the net worth of these American billionaires grew 15% over that 2-month period from $2,948 to $3,382 trillion The largest gains at the top were held by 5 billionaires, Bezos, Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, Warren Buffet, and Larry Ellison with a combination of 76 billion gains.
Elon Musk held the highest percentage gain over the two months seeing a net worth jumping by 48% to $36 billion. He was followed by Zuckerberg who saw his wealth swell by 40% to $80 billion. Bezos saw an increase of 31% to $147 billion. His ex-wife, MacKenzie Bezos received shares from their divorce and saw her wealth increase to $48 billion.
According to the study timeline, the stock market had bottomed out then quickly rebound. Buffett saw a decline in wealth by $20 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, and Gates is down by $4.3 billion. Bezos has gained $35.5 billion while Zuckerberg is up by $9 billion.
There were also losses during these 2 months, especially those in the travel, hospitality, and retail businesses, and have not seen their stocks and their companies recover. Ralph Lauren showed a drop of $100 million to $5.6 billion. John Pritzker, the hotelier, saw a drop of $34 million to $2.56 billion.