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Economy rebounds, but food stamp use still climbing

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(Read caption) This chart shows the rate of food stamp participation as it corresponds to unemployment since 2004. Though unemployment has fallen slightly over the past two years, food stamp use continues to rise.

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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 (which looks like a minor blip by comparison) 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 December, 227,922 recipients were added to the food stamps program with the current total increasing 5.52% on a year-over-year basis while household participation increased 7.23%.

Individual participation as a ratio of the overall civilian non-institutional population has increased 4.84% over the same period.

Participation continues to increase with nominal benefit costs climbing a lofty 5.57% on a year-over-year basis to $6.22 billion for the month.