The world's richest person is getting richer, even in a pandemic, and perhaps because of it.

With consumers stuck at home, they're relying on Jeff Bezos's Amazon.com Inc. more than ever. The retailer's stock climbed 5.3% to a record Tuesday, lifting the founder's net worth to $138.5 billion.

The pandemic has brought the global economy to a near standstill and pushed almost 17 million Americans onto the unemployment rolls in the span of three weeks. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. signaled Tuesday that loan losses fueled by the unprecedented job cuts — many of them in the retail sector that Amazon so efficiently disrupted — could rival those incurred after the 2008 financial crisis.

Yet Bezos and many of his wealthy peers have seen their fortunes recover in recent weeks, helped by the boost given to markets by unprecedented stimulus efforts by governments and central bankers. While the combined net worth of the world's 500 richest people has dropped $553 billion this year, it has surged 20% from its low on March 23, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index

"The wealth gap, it's only going to get wider with what's going on now," said Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak + Co. "The really wealthy people haven't had to worry. Yes, they're less wealthy, but you haven't had to worry about putting food on the table or keeping a roof over your head."

It's not just the billionaires. Corporate insiders have been significant buyers of their companies' shares, a show of confidence that the crisis will pass, even as the nation's leaders debate exactly when Americans can safely return to work.