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.

Let's start with Nucor (NYSE: NUE). The steel giant is giving its quarterly dividend a marginal boost, going from $0.36 to $0.3625 a share. Cynics will argue that you may need a microscope to tell the fractional difference, but Nucor has now managed to inch its distributions higher in each of the past 38 years. That's not too shabby for what most see as a cyclical industry.

General Electric (NYSE: GE) continues to make up for last year's shocker. GE is improving its quarterly payout by 17% to $0.14 a share. It's the second time this year that the conglomerate, which at one time was the world's most valuable company, has jacked up its yield.

GE slashed its dividend by more than two-thirds last year, a month after hinting that it would like to maintain its once lofty disbursements. We're still a far cry from the $0.31 a share that shareholders were getting every three months until early last year, but GE is amending in earnest installments.

Stryker (NYSE: SYK) is also striking again. The health-care equipment specialist is giving its quarterly rate a 20% bump to $0.18 a share. Stryker has been upgrading its dividends at a pretty heady clip in recent years. It also expanded its share buyback initiative by a whopping $500 million.

Finally, we have Western Union (NYSE: WU). Customers rely on Western Union when they need a little more money, and now shareholders may be feeling the same way. Quarterly distributions are going up 17% to $0.07 a share.

It's encouraging to see companies improving their yields at a time when fixed income investments are on the floor. These companies join investment firm W.P. Carey (NYSE: WPC), shipping logistics specialist C.H. Robinson (Nasdaq: CHRW), and Canadian telco BCE (NYSE: BCE) in sending more of their money back to their shareowners in recent days.

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

Want to see what is being recommended these days? Go ahead and give the newsletter service a shot with a 30-day trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing that will get hiked will be your interest.

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

Stryker and Western Union are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Nucor and Western Union are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended a written covered strangle position on Western Union. The Fool owns shares of Nucor. 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.