Unemployment insurance benefits boosted incomes far more during the COVID-19 downturn than they did during previous recessions : The increase in the share of household income coming from UI benefits before and after recession, by recession (identified by year of onset)

Recession Before recession After recession
1960 0.14% 0.17%
1969 0.17% 0.20%
1973 0.22% 0.73%
1980 0.18% 0.04%
1981 0.08% 0.15%
1990 0.09% 0.17%
2001 0.11% 0.22%
2007 0.31% 0.63%
2020 0.81% 2.35%

NOTE: This figure graphs the increase in the share of personal income accounted for by UI for the duration of each recession and the first year of recovery in all business cycles since 1960. Using National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) business cycle dates (NBER 2021) we calculated average UI/PI for one year prior to the recession, the duration of the recession, and one year after. 

SOURCE: Bureau of Economic Analysis National Income and Product Accounts (BEA 2021b) and National Bureau of Economic Research personal income data (NBER 2021).

View the underlying data on epi.org.