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the coronavirus crisis

Household income soared a record 21 percent in March

Household income in the United States soared in March, the Commerce Department said on Friday, setting a new record.

Personal income increased by 21.1 percent last month, according to a Bureau of Economic Analysis report, which was the largest monthly increase since these records have been kept going back to 1959, The Wall Street Journal reports. Disposable personal income also rose by 23.6 percent.

President Biden in March signed Congress' $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, which included direct payments to Americans, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis noted the "increase in personal income in March largely reflected an increase in government social benefits." In February, incomes had fallen by seven percent, according to The Associated Press.

The report also showed that Americans' personal saving rate grew 27.6 percent in March, which the Journal notes was the second highest rate on record. The U.S. economy also grew 1.6 percent in the first three months of the year, while consuming spending in March rose 4.2 percent.

"The strong consumer showing at the end of the first quarter sets the tone for a summer boom,” Oxford Economics chief economist Gregory Daco said, per The Associated Press. "As health conditions improve and the economy reopens, generous fiscal stimulus, rebounding employment and rising optimism will help unleash pent-up demand."