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Real Personal Income: Transfer Payments

The BEA released the Personal Income and Outlays, July 2021 report yesterday.   The report showed that government transfer payments were still almost $1.0 trillion (on SAAR basis) above the February 2020 level (pre-pandemic)  Note: Seasonal adjustment doesn’t make sense with one time payments, but that is how the data is presented.  

This table shows the amount of unemployment insurance and “Other” transfer payments since January 2020 (pre-crisis level).  The increase in “Other” was mostly due to parts of the relief acts including direct payments.

Note: Not in the table below, but Social Security and Medicare payments haven’t increased significantly from the pre-recession levels.  Social Security increased from $1,065 billion SAAR in Jan 2020 to $1,113 billion SAAR in July 2021.  Medicare increased from $807 billion to $821 billion.  Medicaid increased significantly from $603 billion to $760 billion.
But most of the increase in transfer payments – compared to the levels prior to the crisis – is from unemployment insurance and “other” (includes direct payments). 

Selected Transfer Payments
Billions of dollars, SAAR

Other
Unemployment
Insurance

Jan-20
$511
$26

Feb-20
$506
$26

Mar-20
$516
$67

Apr-20
$3,393
$435

May-20
$1,373
$1,287

Jun-20
$743
$1,396

Jul-20
$750
$1,366

Aug-20
$697
$612

Sep-20
$950
$325

Oct-20
$714
$296

Nov-20
$580
$285

Dec-20
$604
$319

Jan-21
$2,317
$574

Feb-21
$735
$558

Mar-21
$4,706
$566

Apr-21
$1,344
$516

May-21
$802
$492

Jun-21
$736
$433

Jul-21
$907
$381

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