Posts Tagged ‘food stamps’

One in Four Children on Food Stamps, One in Eight Overall; Weekly Unemployment Claims Tick Up

One in Four Children on Food Stamps, One in Eight Overall; Weekly Unemployment Claims Tick Up

Courtesy of Mish

Every month the number on food stamps increases. Food stamp usage is now up to a record 36 million. Please consider Food Stamp Use Soars, and Stigma Fades 

With food stamp use at record highs and climbing every month, a program once scorned as a failed welfare scheme now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children.

While the numbers have soared during the recession, the path was cleared in better times when the Bush administration led a campaign to erase the program’s stigma, calling food stamps “nutritional aid” instead of welfare, and made it easier to apply.

There are 239 counties in the United States where at least a quarter of the population receives food stamps, according to an analysis of local data collected by The New York Times.

Poor boy, shoeless and


The counties are as big as the Bronx and Philadelphia and as small as Owsley County in Kentucky, a patch of Appalachian distress where half of the 4,600 residents receive food stamps.

In more than 750 counties, the program helps feed one in three blacks. In more than 800 counties, it helps feed one in three children. In the Mississippi River cities of St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans, half of the children or more receive food stamps. Even in Peoria, Ill. — Everytown, U.S.A. — nearly 40 percent of children receive aid.

Although the program is growing at a record rate, the federal official who oversees it would like it to grow even faster.

“I think the response of the program has been tremendous,” said Kevin Concannon, an under secretary of agriculture, “but we’re mindful that there are another 15, 16 million who could benefit.”

“Some people like to camouflage this by calling it a nutrition program, but it’s really not different from cash welfare,” said Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, whose views have a following among conservatives on Capitol Hill. “Food stamps is quasi money.”

Arguing that aid discourages work and marriage, Mr. Rector said food stamps should contain work requirements as strict as those placed on cash assistance. “The food stamp program is a fossil that repeats all the errors of the war on poverty,” he said.

Use among children is especially


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NYT: 1 in 4 Children, and 1 in 8 Americans Now on Food Stamps

NYT: 1 in 4 Children, and 1 in 8 Americans Now on Food Stamps

food stampsCourtesy of Trader Mark at Fund My Mutual Fund

The topic of what is happening with hunger is nothing new to regular readers of FMMF; we’ve been harping on it for over 2 years as mirage like stories of the "strength" of the US economy, based on government reports (2007, early 2008) and measures such as GDP dominate our ideas of how to measure prosperity.   But judging from the "comments" section in the web version of this weekend’s story in the New York Times, a lot of Americans are getting their first education on what is truly happening under the surface.  I assume many foreign readers must also be shocked as they read about the dirty underbelly of the world’s "richest"* country.
*excluding debt.

When I began the blog in summer 2007, 1 in 11 Americans were on food stamps.  In just a few years that had jumped to 1 in 9.  [Jun 8, 2009: 1 in 9 Americans on Food Stamps]  Now, the New York Times report says the figure has unfortunately hit new thresholds….increasing to 1 in 8 Americans, including 1 in 4 children.  Let us be clear, there is certainly fraud in the system, and people taking advantage of the largesse of the government – that cannot be disputed and if there is one place to increase government spending, it is auditing of these type of programs..  But there is no way that rate of increase happens due to just fraud… it’s an indictment of the hollowing out of our economy and the increasing bifurcation of the economic fortunes in the country.   Not everyone can be a business owner or investment banker – jobs that used to fulfill the needs of the "middle" of America are disappearing and no one asks the questions of why.  Meanwhile, the cost of living remains high, in fact our central bank is trying to increase it by the minute rather than letting the market decrease them (AS IS NEEDED), while wage have been pressured for over a decade.  The house ATM filled the gap for many in the middle part of the decade but people are now out of options…

We’ve warned / predicted in 2007 this was going to be a long term trend, but frankly even I am shocked…
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Food insecurity: alternative measure of economic distress skyrockets

As Edward notes, "continued high unemployment is the elephant in the room which higher asset prices can not make disappear." Logically, the asset prop-up benefits those with assets to a greater extent than those with no assets-- so do policy makers even see growing inequality as a problem? – Ilene

Food insecurity: alternative measure of economic distress skyrockets

Tesco Bargains

Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns

The US Department of Agriculture highlights how the United States in the last decade, despite increased aggregate wealth, slid back significantly in terms of food insecurity as measure of poverty. With everyone now focused on the unemployment situation, it bears noting that even before the downturn in the economy there had been a large surge in food insecurity nationwide.

The Guardian says:

Food insecurity – defined by the USDA as when "food intake … was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food" – afflicted 14.6% of Americans in 2008. ie, some 50 million people were too poor to guarantee being able to put food on the table.

The table below, also from the Guardian, shows where food insecurity is highest. While much of the distress is concentrated in the South, there are plenty of states in the Southwest and West as well. Maine has the highest food insecurity in the Northeast.

food-insecurity

My interpretation of the data goes to income inequality. I see this as evidence that the last decade of growth in the U.S. has not been beneficial for poorer Americans. However, I would go further in saying that the downturn in the U.S. and rising unemployment, bankruptcy and foreclosure in the middle class has made plain that the middle class has also been left behind. While distress amongst poorer Americans is plain from these numbers, the diminished position in the middle class was masked by a surge in debt. This was made plain only as a result of a drop in asset prices.

At present, U.S. policy makers are trying to make this problem go away by reflating an asset bubble, but continued high unemployment is the elephant in the room which higher asset prices can not make disappear.

As for…
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Unemployment: The Gathering Storm

Here’s a worrisome essay by Charles Hugh Smith on the future trend in employment, supported by numbers and logic. Makes you wonder how green shoots can be sustained in this environment. - Ilene

Unemployment: The Gathering Storm

storm clouds gathering Pictures, Images and Photos

Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith’s Of Two Minds 

Officially, 14.9 million Americans are unemployed. That number will double.

The number of people who are unemployed is almost unimaginable: 15 million. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s August 2009 Employment Situation Report, 14.9 million persons are unemployed, 9.1 million are "working part time for economic reasons," and 2.3 million are "marginally attached to the labor force," i.e. they wanted a job but have not actively looked for a job in the past four weeks.

That totals 26.3 million people unemployed or under-employed. In January of this year, the Standard Issue Financial Punditry (SIFP) was parroting "official estimates" that the economy would lose 2 million jobs during this recession. I dismantled that absurd fantasy with an analysis of the employment situation which concluded that 21 million jobs lost is actually an optimistic guesstimate compared to what could transpire in the years ahead--a gradual evaporation of 30-35 million jobs. Sadly, the current numbers fall into the range that I suggested was realistic. (The End of (Paying) Work, January 21, 2009)

We need to understand the dynamics behind the unemployment numbers.

1. Some unemployment is normal; people lose a job or quit and then find another one, usually within six months--at least in times of prosperity. So even in prosperity, 5 to 6 million people are "between jobs" and thus officially unemployed while they draw unemployment benefits.

Thus at least 5 million of the 15 million currently unemployed are "baseline" unemployed, the normal shifting and adjusting of thousands of enterprises and 137 million workers (the size of the civilian workforce as of December 2008).

So while the "official" estimate was 2 million people would lose their jobs due to recession, the actual number is already 10 million. At least 2.3 million have given up looking and 9 million more have had their hours slashed. Note to Ministry of Propaganda: you really need to align slightly with reality or you lose all credibility.

Ministry of Propaganda

2. The BLS estimates the number of jobs created by the "birth" of new small businesses which it assumes are flying beneath…
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Food-Stamps Reach 33.8 Million in April, 5th Consecutive Monthly Record

Food-Stamps Reach 33.8 Million in April, 5th Consecutive Monthly Record

Courtesy of Mish

The record hit parade keeps right on rolling.

Earlier today, in Continuing Claims Soar by 159,000 to New Record; Initial Jobless Claims Skewed By Autos I noted The peak in initial claims might be in but the peak in unemployment has not. Moreover, reported continuing claims hit 6.883 million, setting a new all time record.

However, the real number of continuing claims is closer to 9.4 million on account of extended benefits via the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program as detailed in the above link. I hope to have charts of this phenomenon later today or tomorrow.

Unsurprisingly another record was broken today and that is a record for food stamps. Please consider U.S. Food-Stamp Recipients Reached Record 33.8 Million in April.
 

A record 33.8 million people received food stamps in April, up 20 percent from a year earlier, as unemployment surged toward a 26-year high, government figures show. Spending also jumped, as the average benefit rose.

It was the fifth straight month of record participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and up 1.8 percent from the prior month. Total spending was $4.5 billion, up 19 percent from the previous all-time high reached in March, the USDA said.

The government is boosting food aid in response to a jobless rate that rose to 9.5 percent in June from 9.4 percent in May. An additional $20 billion over five years was authorized for nutrition assistance in the $787 billion stimulus bill Congress passed in February.

Note the food stamp record is for April. Expect to see new records for May, June, July, and August as well, in line with rising unemployment numbers.

Given that unemployment numbers are likely to keep rising for a year, there is an opportunity to set 17 consecutive records. Let’s hope it does not come to that.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
 


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Green Shoots at Family Dollar

Green Shoots at Family Dollar (FDO)

TraderMark at Fund My Mutual Fund

No slowdown in dollar stores as Americans on Main Street are wrecked by the Great Recession. Family Dollar (FDO) just reported a very nice set of numbers – obviously the Street was under the impression the recession is over judging from the stock the past 2 months. Actually broke down below the 200 day moving average as of the last week.



Family Dollar Stores chart

Despite Wall Street’s protestations (and Dennis Kneale’s), Americans remain stuck in the Walmart section of retail, not Target [Dec 26 2007: Target Shoppers Turning into Walmart Shoppers] Remember, since I’ve started this blog not 2 years ago the % of Americans on food stamps has jumped from 1 in 11, to 1 in 9. [Jun 8, 2009: 1 in 9 Americans on Food Stamps] This appears to be helping Family Dollar which unlike most "dollar stores" has food items as well.

The gross margin expansion is mighty impressive – especially for a retailer; the same store sales growth in this retail environment is simply a damning indictment of how bad off more and more Americans are becoming. I continue to conclude "The Street" does not get what is going on out there in everyday America.

Via CBSMarketwatch

  • Discount retailer Family Dollar Stores Inc. said Wednesday that its fiscal third-quarter profit rose a better-than-expected 36%, aided by budget-conscious consumers seeking bargains on food and other consumables and improved home goods and apparel discretionary sales.
  • Net income rose to $87.7 million, or 62 cents a share, from $64.7 million, or 46 cents, a year earlier. Analysts, on average, estimated the company would earn 59 cents a share, according to FactSet.
  • Sales in the quarter ended May 30 rose 8.3% to $1.84 billion, the 6,600-store chain said. Comparable-store sales climbed 6.2%, helped by increased customer traffic and the higher amount customers spent per transaction.


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Kimble Charting Solutions

DAX Index Hits Two 18-Year Support Lines, Creates Large Bullish Reversal

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Has the DAX index from Germany experience a large decline of late? Yes, it has!

Has the decline broken long-term rising support lines? Not so far!

This chart looks at the DAX index on a monthly basis over the past 25-years. Over the past 6-years, it has traded sideways inside of the blue rectangle at (1).

The decline this year saw the DAX hit two 18-year rising support lines at (2) last month, where a large bullish reversal took place.

Until broken, important support remains in play at (2), which is bullish for this key index....



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Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

Since the passage of “tax cuts,” in late 2017, the surge in corporate share buybacks has become a point of much debate. I previously wrote that stock buybacks were setting records over the past couple of years. Jeffery Marc...



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Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
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There is only one article in this special supplement, click on the image or link below to download and read it today!

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Free, Live Webinar on Stocks, Options and Trading Strategies

TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of TradeExchange.com. It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

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Lee,

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Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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