As a logical consequence of the prolonged economic downturn, participation in the federal food stamp program is continuing to rise.
In fact, household participation has been climbing so steadily that it has dwarfed the last peak (which looks like a minor blip by comparison) set as a result of the immediate fallout following hurricane Katrina.
The latest data released by the Department of Agriculture indicated that in October, 184,954 recipients were removed from the food stamps program after August and September's addition of over 874,000 with the current total increasing 2.79% on a year-over-year basis.
Individuals receiving food stamp benefits declined to 47.52 million which, as a ratio of the overall civilian non-institutional population, increased 1.22% on the month to now stand at a whopping 19.47% of the population.
Households receiving food stamps benefits declined by 40,952 to 22.93 million after rising by over 431,000 in August and September with the current total rising 4.36% above the level seen a year earlier
As participation continues to swell, so too has the total nominal benefit cost climbing 1.74% on a year-over-year basis to $6.34 billion for the month.