Friday, September 2, 2011

June: Food Stamp Use Declines For First Time During Obama Administration

$6,039,935,392 federal expenditure for June...
If Food Food Stamps are an economic stimulus, as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said last month, the US economy got less of a boost in June from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. According to preliminary USDA estimates released today, in June the number of people receiving Food Stamps went down for the first time during President Obama's term, a reduction of 0.5% from May's all-time historic high of citizen use.

45,183,931 people received Food Stamps in June, down 226,752 from May's 45,410,683. That equals about 41,510 fewer households; June's household use number is 21,394,405. But the numbers are also 9.5% higher than June of 2010.

The total monthly federal expenditure for June was $6,039,935,392, down from $6,121,532,495 in May, a difference of $81,597,103.

Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program had been growing steadily since before President Obama entered office; the program had previously set records for increased enrollment every month since December of 2008. In January of 2009, when President Obama entered office, 31,983,716 Americans or 14,499,693 households used Food Stamps, at a federal cost of $3,633,188,682.00, according to USDA.

"Every dollar of SNAP benefits generates $1.84 in the economy in terms of economic activity," Vilsack said in an interview in August. "If people are able to buy a little more in the grocery store, someone has to stock it, package it, shelve it, process it, ship it. All of those are jobs. It's the most direct stimulus you can get in the economy during these tough times."

He credited the record rates of enrollment in the SNAP program to better coordination between USDA and state agencies.

Read USDA's summary of the numbers.

Related: In August, USDA decided that it does not want to examine the nutrition and health benefits of removing sugary beverages from the Food Stamps program.

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