The pandemic has been affecting everyone’s bank accounts. Many people are out of work. Entire industries have shut down. But billionaires are thriving, thanks to all of us being stuck at home and shopping online and the strength of the stock market. In fact, billionaires are doing spectacularly: The combined wealth of all the billionaires on earth just hit $10 trillion for the first time. In April, the combined wealth of all billionaires was “just” $8 trillion. Now, it is $10.2 trillion. That’s a 27.5% increase in wealth. The previous high mark was $8.9 trillion at the end of 2017. The $10.2 trillion reflects the combined net worth of 2,189 billionaires, which is also a new high.
From April 7 to July 31 of this year, billionaires in every single industry saw a double-digit increase in their net worths. Billionaires in health care, technology, and the industrial industries saw their wealth grow between 36% and 44%. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has seen his net worth grow by nearly $90 billion since March. Tesla founder Elon Musk was worth $56 billion in March and $103 billion today.
The rise in the net worth of global billionaires is in sharp contrast to the rest of the world. Sure, we may be saving money on eating out and concerts and travel, but many industries haven’t rebounded from the shutdowns imposed in an effort to control the spread of coronavirus. Broadway plans to be shut down until at least the fall/winter of 2021. Live music is at a standstill, and there are no concerts or music festivals as we knew them just eight short months ago. Restaurants and bars and night clubs face uncertain futures. Gyms and fitness studios are struggling. You get the picture.
Nearly 36 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide and more than one million people have died as a result of it.