As the pandemic-fueled U.S. unemployment rate approaches 15 percent, America’s billionaire class is experiencing a wealth surge, according to a new Institute for Policy Studies report that I co-authored with Omar Ocampo and Sophia Paslaski, Billionaire Bonanza 2020.
Between March 18th and April 23rd, as more than 26 million U.S. workers lost their jobs, the combined wealth of America’s billionaires increased by $308 billion, a 10.5 percent increase. After a brief decline, the collective wealth of 614 U.S. billionaires has surpassed than their 2019 levels.
The Jeff Bezos wealth surge is unprecedented in modern financial history. As of April 15, his fortune had increased by an estimated $25 billion since January 1, 2020. This is greater than the Gross Domestic Product of Honduras, $23.9 billion in 2018.