Pandemic aid pushed Mainers' personal income upwards last year
Government efforts to protect Mainers from economic harm during the pandemic led to big increases in personal income during 2020.
Figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Affairs show personal income gains of 9.8% in Bangor, 8.6% in Lewiston-Auburn and 6.3% in Portland-South Portland.
Some rural areas of the state saw even bigger gains, such as 11.6% in Aroostook and Washington Counties.
The smallest percentage gain was in Lincoln County. But even there, personal income rose just over 5% in 2020, compared to just 3.3% the previous year.
Personal income was bolstered by big pandemic aid bills passed by Congress. They sent checks to individuals and enhanced unemployment benefits for people thrown out of work during the early months of the pandemic.
Absent government aid, personal income would have trended lower in 2020.