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Food stamp usage continues on explosive climb

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(Read caption) This chart shows the unemployment rate and the number of people using food stamps starting in 2000. The latest data on food stamp participation, from January 2011, shows that it continues in a steep incline even though the unemployment rate is declining.

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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.

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The latest data released by the Department of Agriculture shows that in January, an additional 105,470 new recipients were added to the food stamps program, an increase of 12.06% on a year-over-year basis, while household participation increased 14.52%.

Individual participation as a ratio of the overall civilian non-institutional population has increased 11.18% over the same period.

These results confirm that participation is continuing it's explosive climb, likely as a result of the jump in total unemployment, driving the nominal benefit costs up an lofty 11.70% on a year-over-year basis to $5.866 billion for the month.

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