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.

Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Takes Aim at LGBTQ+ Rights While Urging Reversal of Roe

"Make no mistake, the goal is to force extreme, outdated, religious-driven values on all of us through the courts."

Jessica Corbett ·


Ahead of Canadian Election, Bernie Sanders and Rashida Tlaib Endorse NDP

"Bernie, you have fought courageously for public healthcare, affordable medication, making the rich pay their fair share, and tackling the climate crisis," said party leader Jagmeet Singh. "We're doing the same here."

Jessica Corbett ·


US Urged to End Drone Strikes After Pentagon Says Killing 10 Afghan Civilians Was 'Horrible Mistake'

"That was not a 'mistake,'" said journalist Anand Giridharadas. "War crimes are not oopsies."

Brett Wilkins ·


40+ NYC Activists Arrested for Protests Against Banks Fueling Climate Emergency

"We're sending a message loud and clear that the little action that politicians and greenwashing CEOs have taken so far does not begin to deal with the magnitude of this crisis."

Jessica Corbett ·


FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer Booster Shots for People 65+ and Especially Vulnerable

The scientific advisory committee voted down a recommendation for other adults.

Common Dreams staff ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo