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Thursday, July 09, 2009 2:25 PM


Food-Stamps Reach 33.8 Million in April, 5th Consecutive Monthly Record


The record hit parade keeps right on rolling.

Earlier today, in Continuing Claims Soar by 159,000 to New Record; Initial Jobless Claims Skewed By Autos I noted The peak in initial claims might be in but the peak in unemployment has not. Moreover, reported continuing claims hit 6.883 million, setting a new all time record.

However, the real number of continuing claims is closer to 9.4 million on account of extended benefits via the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program as detailed in the above link. I hope to have charts of this phenomenon later today or tomorrow.

Unsurprisingly another record was broken today and that is a record for food stamps. Please consider U.S. Food-Stamp Recipients Reached Record 33.8 Million in April.

A record 33.8 million people received food stamps in April, up 20 percent from a year earlier, as unemployment surged toward a 26-year high, government figures show. Spending also jumped, as the average benefit rose.

It was the fifth straight month of record participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and up 1.8 percent from the prior month. Total spending was $4.5 billion, up 19 percent from the previous all-time high reached in March, the USDA said.

The government is boosting food aid in response to a jobless rate that rose to 9.5 percent in June from 9.4 percent in May. An additional $20 billion over five years was authorized for nutrition assistance in the $787 billion stimulus bill Congress passed in February.
Note the food stamp record is for April. Expect to see new records for May, June, July, and August as well, in line with rising unemployment numbers.

Given that unemployment numbers are likely to keep rising for a year, there is an opportunity to set 17 consecutive records. Let's hope it does not come to that.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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