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Yes, That Extra $600 Really Is Making Up for Lost U.S. Income

Photographer: Alex Scott/Bloomberg

Expanded unemployment-insurance benefits have given concrete support to U.S. personal incomes during the pandemic, according to new figures published Friday that will fuel the debate over whether to extend them when they expire next month.

Compensation of employees, a measure which includes wage and salary disbursements as well as employer benefits, fell 8.3% in the three months through May, according to monthly Commerce Department figures on personal income and spending. But compensation of employees, plus government unemployment-insurance benefits, rose 2.3% over the same period, thanks to a surge in payouts last month.