(TELESUR) – Amazon’s founder and president Jeff Bezos has added nearly US$24 billion to his already vast fortune, as coronavirus-related lockdowns across the globe have forced people indoors and fueled a surge in e-commerce demand.
The company’s stock rose by 5.3 percent, “hitting a new record close of US$2,283 per share,” Forbes reported Tuesday.
Owning an 11 percent stake in the company, Bezos has been the wealthiest person in the world since 2017. His worth was US$138 billion as of Tuesday, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The index updates followed a report published Saturday by Forbes about how “market gains led to a combined US$51.3 billion boost for 10 of the world’s billionaires since the market closed a week ago, on April 2.” Bezos gained US$6.8 billion in that time.
Former presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, Senator Bernie Sanders, tweeted Wednesday the Forbes report pointing out how the wealth increases of Bezos and other billionaires contrast with the millions of citizens in the United States (U.S.) who are struggling because of the ongoing public health crisis.
While millions of people across the country lost their jobs and sources of income, Amazon announced that it hired 100,000 extra U.S. workers to deal with demand and noted it would hire another 75,000 “to help meet customer demand and assist existing employees fulfilling orders for essential products.”
Over the past weeks, the retailer has come under heavy criticism for its handling of the outbreak.
Workers at Amazon and Whole Foods Market, the grocery chain acquired by the company in 2017, have expressed fear and frustration about working conditions. Many work on the frontlines packing and shipping items at warehouses where the disease can spread quickly.