US billionaires saw their net worth rise by almost $1 trillion between March and October — Jeff Bezos remains the richest, a study says

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Andrej Sokolow/picture alliance via Getty Images
  • The US’s 644 richest people saw their net worth rise by $US931 billion in the seven months to October 13, a survey on Tuesday found.
  • Quicken Loans’ Dan Gilbert and Tesla’s Elon Musk have seen triple-digit percentage increases, while Amazon boss Jeff Bezos saw an 80% rise, retaining his spot as the richest person.
  • The Institute for Policy Studies and Americans for Tax Fairness study found US billionaires’ total net worth rose to $US3.88 trillion by October 13 from March 18 – nearly double the total wealth held by the bottom half of the entire US population.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

US billionaires have seen their net worth rise by almost a trillion dollars since the onset of the pandemic in mid-March, with Tesla chief executive Elon Musk and Quicken Loans’ Dan Gilbert logging the biggest increases, according to a survey on Tuesday.

The 644 billionaires in question saw their net worth rise to $US3.88 trillion by October 13, up $US930.7 billion from $US2.95 trillion from March 18, based on a study by the Institute for Policy Studies and Americans for Tax Fairness that used Forbes data.

Their total wealth is nearly double the $US2.1 trillion in total wealth held by the bottom half of the population, or 165 million Americans, the survey showed.

Over 200,000 people have died and more than 8 million have been infected with COVID-19. The US has the highest death rate in the world, accounting for roughly one in five of all COVID-related fatalities.

Read More:

These are the 10 most crowded trades among global money managers, UBS says. The biggest underweight stocks might surprise you

The US economy suffered the largest contraction in activity among Western nations in the second quarter of the year, shrinking by over 30% after the coronavirus pandemic rendered millions jobless, shuttered businesses, and brought activity to a near halt.

Since then, economic activity has gradually resumed, helped in large part by cheap borrowing rates and direct financial help for households and businesses. Democrats and Republicans have been at loggerheads since July, when the first set of direct stimulus measures expired, over the size and scope of a second round of lifelines.

“In the short-term we need a robust pandemic relief package that meets the urgency of the moment,” Frank Clemente, executive director of ATF, said.

“In the long-term we need major reform that taxes the extraordinary wealth of the billionaires and millionaires and uses that wealth to create an economy that works for all of us,” he said.

The survey uses March 18 as the start date of the pandemic, because it was at this point that lockdowns began to come into force across the country.

Nearly 10 million Americans are still claiming unemployment benefits, and according to the survey, which used data from Yelp, 98,000 businesses have permanently closed.

Quicken Loans’ Gilbert has seen his net worth rise by 656% in the seven months to October 13, to $US49.2 billion. The company is now the largest mortgage lender in the US, thanks to the low interest rates that have helped fuel a boom in home refinancing this year.

Musk, who heads up luxury electric-vehicle maker Tesla, saw his wealth rise 277% to $US92.8 billion. Shares in Tesla have rocketed by more than 400% so far this year.

In third place is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, whose fortune increased 85% to $US101 billion in this time frame, while Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos saw his net worth rise 80% to $US203 billion, meaning he retains his spot as the richest man.

Read More:

BANK OF AMERICA: Buy these 6 financial-sector stocks that offer the most attractive risk-reward combo as the economy improves