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Personal Income Soars Over 21% on Third Round of Free Money

Thanks to the third round of Covid-19 stimulus, personal income hit a new record high.
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PCE, Personal Income, personal PCTR 2021-03 Detail

Personal Income Jumps Thanks to Free Money

The BEA's Personal Income and Outlays report for March 2021 shows a new record high in personal income.

Numbers in the chart are in billions of dollars at Seasonally-Adjusted Annualized Rates (SAAR).

Key Details 

  • Personal income increased $4.21 trillion (21.1 percent) in March.
  • Disposable personal income (DPI) increased $4.18 trillion (23.6 percent)
  • Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $616.0 billion (4.2 percent).
  • Real DPI increased 23.0 percent in March and Real PCE increased 3.6 percent; goods increased 7.3 percent and services increased 1.7 percent 
  • Personal outlays increased $616.4 billion in March.
  • Personal saving was $6.04 trillion in March and the personal saving rate—personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income—was 27.6 percent.
  • The PCE price index increased 0.5 percent. 
  • Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.4 percent. 

PCE, Income, Transfer Receipts 2006-Present

PCE, Personal Income, personal PCTR 2021-03
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Transfer Payments (PCTR)

The charts show three recent spikes in Personal Current Transfer Receipts (PCTR).

Transfer payments are free money or money equivalents from the Federal government. 

The category includes food stamps, a relatively stable transfer payment, and Covid stimulus items (one time and ongoing).

There was a "one time" leap in March of 2020 and another "one time" jump in January of 2021. 

Biden sought and got a third round of stimulus that is now reflected in the charts. 

Personal Income Excluding PCTR

Personal income excluding PCTR is barely above the pre-pandemic level. The rest is free money.