42.9m in US receiving food stamps

Bloomberg News / December 8, 2010

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WASHINGTON — The number of Americans receiving food stamps rose to a record 42.9 million in September as the jobless rate stayed near a 27-year high, the government said.

Recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program subsidies for food purchases jumped 16 percent from a year earlier and increased 1.2 percent from August, the US Department of Agriculture said yesterday in a statement on its website. Participation has set records for 22 straight months.

“It’s clear that it’s an economic stimulus,’’ Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in an interview last week. Government food assistance is helping many families stay financially and nutritionally afloat, he said.

The USDA released a report last month showing a record number of Americans faced hunger in 2009. Unemployment in November rose to 9.8 percent, the government said Friday. The jobless figure is near levels last seen in 1983.

An average of 43.3 million people, more than an eighth of the population, will get food stamps each month in the year that began Oct. 1, according to White House estimates.