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Are you on food stamps yet?

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(Read caption) Red bars show the number of Americans using food stamps from October, 2004 to June, 2010. The blue shading shows the percentage of unemployed Americans from October, 2004 to August, 2010.

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As a logical consequence of the prolonged economic downturn it appears that participation in the federal food stamp program is continuing to rise.

In fact, household participation has been climbing so steadily that it has far surpassed the last peak set as a result of the immediate fallout following hurricane Katrina.

The latest data released by the Department of Agriculture shows that, on a year-over-year basis, household participation has increased 20.28% while individual participation, as a ratio of the overall population, has increased 16.50% over the same period.

The June results confirm that participation is continuing to climb, likely as a result of the jump in total unemployment, driving the nominal benefit costs up an lofty 17.73% on a year-over-year basis to $5,504,541,352 for the month.

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