Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos—the richest man in the world—and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg saw their combined wealth soar by $63 billion over the last 10 weeks, according to the Institute for Policy Studies. (Image: Institute for Policy Studies)

'Grotesque': While 41 Million People Lost Jobs Due to Covid-19, US Billionaires Grew Nearly $500 Billion Richer

"Billionaire wealth is surging at the same time that millions face suffering, hardship, and loss of life. This is a grotesque indicator of the deep inequalities in U.S. society."

Jake Johnson

Statistics released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor show that with 2.1 million new unemployment claims filed last week, a staggering 40.7 million Americans have lost their jobs over just the past 10 weeks as mass layoffs induced by the coronavirus pandemic continue.

"This is a grotesque indicator of the deep inequalities in U.S. society."
—Institute for Policy Studies

During that same 10-week period, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), the combined net worth of America's billionaires soared by nearly half a trillion dollars, bringing their total wealth to $3.4 trillion.

"Billionaire wealth is surging at the same time that millions face suffering, hardship, and loss of life," IPS, a progressive think tank, said Thursday, noting that more than 100,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the United States. "This is a grotesque indicator of the deep inequalities in U.S. society."

IPS, which has been publishing weekly updates on billionaire "pandemic profiteering," found that the combined net worth of U.S. billionaires grew by $485 billion between March 18 and May 28, an increase of 16.5%.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos—the richest man in the world—and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg saw their combined wealth soar by $63 billion over the last 10 weeks.

Meanwhile, as Common Dreams reported, a $2-an-hour hazard pay increase for Amazon warehouse workers is set to expire at the end of the day Sunday.

IPS found that there are currently 16 more billionaires than there were in mid-March, when many U.S. states began locking down their economies as Covid-19 spread rapidly across the country.

"This isn't just unsustainable," IPS tweeted of the surge in billionaire wealth. "It's unconscionable."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

100+ State Lawmakers Join Texas Dems in DC to Demand Passage of For the People Act

"I really want to make sure they understand what we're going through in Florida," said one legislator, calling for "a federal firewall from these state voter suppression activities."

Jessica Corbett ·


Near-Record Temps and Deadly Fires Engulf Southern Europe

"Everything is going to burn. Our land, our animals, and our house."

Andrea Germanos ·


Social Media Platforms Are a 'Safe Space' for Anti-Jewish Hate: Report

"Social media is increasingly unsafe for Jewish people, just as it is becoming for women, Black people, Muslims, LGBT people, and many other groups."

Brett Wilkins ·


Insulated From Patent Waivers, Pfizer and Moderna Hike Vaccine Prices

"Capitalism never fails to not surprise," wrote one observer.

Julia Conley ·


'Civil Disobedience Is Our Duty': Swiss Climate Campaigners Occupy Zürich Financial Center

"We have no other choice. Either phase out fossil fuels or face forest fires, famines, droughts, and floods."

Kenny Stancil ·