Ordinarily when people lose their job, they spend less money. But something unusual happened this spring, when tens of millions of people were suddenly thrown out of work by the coronavirus pandemic. At first, their spending did go down, just as you would expect. But it quickly rebounded, once people started to receive unemployment benefits, which the federal government had boosted by $600 per week. Jobless people who received those benefits wound up spending more on the whole than they had before the pandemic. "Unemployment benefits have been absolutely transformative for the households that have been able to receive them during this crisis," said Peter Ganong, who studied the spending patterns along with colleagues from the University of Chicago and the JPMorgan Chase Institute. "It actually turns out that they're helping to sustain the U.S. economy as a whole." That could be an important consideration as Congress debates whether to renew some form of extra aid for the unemployed as part of a new coronavirus relief package.