Dividend checks continue to get fatter in Corporate America, as more companies jack up their distribution rates.

Readers of the Income Investor newsletter can certainly appreciate that kind of thinking. Let's take a closer look at some of the companies that inched their payouts higher this past week.

We'll start with Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI), which jacked up its dividend by 23%. Shareholders will now receive $0.16 a share every three months. Johnson Controls is used to mailing out disbursements, since it's been paying them since 1887.

Nike (NYSE: NKE) is also willing to "just do it" with its distributions. The athletic footwear giant is boosting its quarterly rate by 15% to $0.31 a share. Nike has now come through with nine consecutive years of higher payouts. The last time Nike didn't hike its yield, Air Jordans were all the rage.

Mattel (NYSE: MAT) also isn't playing around with its yield. The country's largest toymaker is cranking up its annual dividend by 11% to $0.83 a share. Mattel also announced a massive share buyback and will begin mailing out its distributions on a quarterly basis come next year.

Finally, we have Lancaster Colony (Nasdaq: LANC) lighting up its income investors. The candle maker, which also dabbles in salad dressings and other edibles, is brightening up its quarterly rate by 10% to $0.33 a share. Investors should be used to this by now, since Lancaster has managed 48 consecutive years of higher disbursements.

It's encouraging to see companies improving their yields at a time when fixed-income investments are on the floor. The businesses above join oil and gas industry gear specialist National Oilwell Varco (NYSE: NOV), precious-metals investor Royal Gold (Nasdaq: RGLD), and insurer Montpelier Re (NYSE: MRH) in sending more of their money back to their shareowners these days.

Subscribers to the Income Investor newsletter can appreciate the companies sending more and more money to their investors. The newsletter singles out stocks that are committed to growing their distributions, with market-thumping results.

Want to see what we're recommending these days? Give the newsletter service a shot with a 30-day trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing to get hiked will be your interest.

Do higher dividends matter to you? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Montpelier Re, Nike, and National Oilwell Varco are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Montpelier Re is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pays attention to yield signs. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.