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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

New data from the JPMorgan Chase Institute released Wednesday shines a light on how and when stimulus checks were used by Americans over the last year.

Why it matters: While D.C. debated the size and frequency of stimulus payments, many economists had argued the crisis caused by the pandemic required a large response. The new data shows that the stimulus played a key role in boosting the cash buffers of low-income families disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

  • The largest year-over-year declines in income from labor were felt by lower-income households. Those households also had the highest increase in total income as a result of government programs.

By the numbers: Stimulus saving and spending among those disproportionately impacted was bigger and faster than in other socioeconomics groups, according to the Institute's report, which is based on anonymized checking account activity by families that use Chase bank.

  • After the April 2020 stimulus checks were deployed, median cash balances rose by about $900 versus 2019 levels, and from there fell by roughly $500 by the end of December.
  • In May of last year, lower-income households had doubled their balances relative to 2019, while balances among the highest-earning families were up by roughly 40%.
  • However, those gains were more quickly depleted for low-income families. They lost 70% of their 2020 balance gains by the end of December, while the highest-income families lost 48%.

Go deeper: Overall, more Americans saved stimulus money the last round.

Go deeper

Report: Pandemic aid programs reduce poverty at record level

Unemployed people speak with hiring representatives during a job fair in Beattyville, Kentucky, on July 28. Photo: Jon Cherry/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Pandemic-related government aid programs are projected to cut poverty nearly in half this year from pre-pandemic levels, according to a report by the Urban Institute.

Why it matters: The Urban Institute projects the poverty rate will fall to 7.7% this year from 13.9% in 2018, which will amount to the largest reduction in poverty the U.S. has seen in such a small increment of time.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
23 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."