Zuckerberg is now the 3rd-richest person in the world after his fortune grew $30 billion since the coronavirus crisis began

Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth has increased by $US30 billion since California went under lockdown on March 17. Charles Platiau/Reuters

Despite the economic fallout from the pandemic, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has added more than $US30 billion to his wealth in just two months.

The surge in Zuckerberg’s net worth has earned him the title of third-richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranking updated on May 21. Zuckerberg is now worth an estimated $US87.8 billion, rising above billionaires like Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and the fashion mogul Bernard Arnault.

When Silicon Valley and the Bay Area were first told to shelter in place in mid-March, Zuckerberg was worth a paltry $US57.5 billion and placed fifth on the list, according to Bloomberg’s estimates. California remains under lockdown in an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak, but Facebook’s CEO has nonetheless added billions to his riches.

The surge in Zuckerberg’s ranking is likely because of his company’s growth during a time when nearly 40 million US workers have been laid off. Facebook reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings on April 29.

The company beat Wall Street expectations in revenue and daily active users, generating $US17.74 billion and attracting 1.73 billion users in the first three months of 2020. The company also reported it had reached 3 billion monthly users across its family of apps, which includes Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. By the next morning, Facebook stock jumped as much as 8%, netting the company $US44 billion in added market value.

However, Facebook said it experienced a “significant reduction” in advertising demand over the last three weeks of the first quarter. While first-quarter earnings for tech companies and social platforms were relatively promising across the board, a significant impact to the economy remains to be seen. Second-quarter results – covering business from April 1 to June 30 – may better represent the effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on businesses.

In the past two months, Facebook has also announced expansions of its business into e-commerce and video chatting. Facebook recently debuted Messenger Rooms, a video-chat service for up to 50 people at the time, as services like Zoom and Houseparty saw significant bumps in use. Just this week, Facebook said that its core platform and Instagram were getting an e-commerce feature called Shops that allows businesses to add virtual storefronts to their profiles.

Zuckerberg is third on the list of the richest people behind Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates.