[LEO's Jim] Sullivan and his colleagues recently estimated that poverty declined slightly during the first few months of the pandemic after Washington spent trillions on two early aid packages that stepped up unemployment benefits and sent $1,200 checks to millions of Americans, among many other forms of aid. When some of the initial unemployment benefits expired over the summer, poverty rose sharply, even though unemployment fell dramatically.
“There’s a real success story here,” Sullivan said. “The federal response went a really long way to prevent a massive increase in hardship. That’s not to say there weren’t hardships, but it could have been so much worse.”