Sept 8, 2013
There was much discussion of Friday's "disappointing" non-farm payrolls goal-seeked, seasonally adjusted, X-13-ARIMA conceived jobs "number." The conclusion was that it showed an economy which one year after the start of QEternity was growing nowhere near where the Fed has projected and hoped it would be at this time. But in addition to the BLS jobs number, there was another just as important number that was released on Friday: the monthly foodstamp (SNAP) participation update. There was no discussion of this particular number and for good reason. If the NFP number was at least meant to show some economic stability, if subpar, the monthly foodstamp update shows month after month that the greatest depression is nowhere near ending for millions of American living in poverty (83% of SNAP households have gross income at or below 100% of the poverty guideline ($19,530 for a family of 3 in 2013), and these households receive about 91% of all benefits. 61% of SNAP households have gross income at or below 75% of the poverty guideline or $14,648 for a family of 3 in 2013).
To wit: in June, the number of households receiving foodstamps rose to 23.117 million, an increase of 45.9k in one month, and also a new record high. As for the average monthly benefit per household: $274.55, just off record lows.
At the individual level, in June an additional 125,059 Americans started using Foodstamps, i.e. entered poverty. However, the silver lining was that unlike at the household level, the increase to 47.8 million was not a record high. It missed that particular record, set in December 2012, by 31,771.
And while it is understandable why the media has been obsessed with Syria: after all the administration is in dire need of distractions from so many things having gone wrong, it is also understandable why no mainstream media outlet will show the following chart: the change of Americans on foodstamps and disability vs jobs since the start of the Depression in December 2007. The reason is that while over that time period the US still needs to generate an additional 2.2 million jobs to get back to breakeven (ignoring for a minute that the jobs created are mostly part-time or low paying jobs), the number of foodstamp and disability recipients has risen by 22 million!
SNAP and Disability vs Payrolls monthly:
And SNAP and Disability vs Payrolls cumulative:
Finally, putting it all into perspective, there are more Americans on foodstamps than the entire population of Spain.