Food Stamp Use At All Time High Despite Eight Year Low Unemployment Rate

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) station, more commonly known as Food Stamps, in the GrowNYC Greenmarket in Union Square on September 18, 2013 in New York City.
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Despite the nation’s lowest unemployment rate in eight years, the number of Americans on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – also known as food stamps – is at an all time high.

The official 4.9 percent unemployment rate is at an eight-year low, but the number of people on food stamps (47,636,000 in 2013) remains high, according to the Media Research Center.

MRC’s Nick Kangadis reports the discrepancy is because the unemployment rate doesn’t account for Americans that have dropped out of the work force.

As of January 2016, 94 million Americans weren’t participating in the labor force. “But the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has been hovering around 46 million participants since 2011. The current figure, as of February 2016, stands at 45.8 million Americans receiving food stamps,” notes Kangadis.

According to Bloomberg Business, the last time the unemployment rate was under five percent, which was in 2008, 28 million Americans were on food stamps. That means roughly 19 million more people are using food stamps since 2008.


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