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Food Stamp Usage Explodes

June 2nd, 2010 Michael McDonough

Food stamp usage has climbed to new highs in the U.S. with over 40mn subscribers–roughly 15% of the total population–as of this morning’s release for March.  The rise in volumes coincided with an explosion in costs for the program to $5.4bn/month from $3.6bn/month at the start of 2009.  Surging food stamp use or what is referred to by the USDA as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is another indicator highlighting challenges still facing consumers in the midst of exceptionally high unemployment and relatively stagnant wages, which have increased by just 0.3% over the past year.  Such a large percentage of the population on food stamps also likely has an adverse effect on consumer confidence, which remains well below its pre-recession levels; albeit well off its post Lehman lows.

Source: USDA

The state with the fewest subscribers in 2009 was Wyoming with 26,762 participants, while Texas had the most with 3.0mn.

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