May 10, 2010
1 in 8 Americans is now receiving food stamps, a new record. Despite the economy purportedly adding jobs again, it is also adding to the number of people on food stamps. The USDA numbers show that 39.68M Americans were receiving food stamps in February, up 260,000 from January.
And the problem is expected to grow. With average enrollment expected to be 40.5M in 2010, the USDA is estimating 2011 average enrollment in the program will balloon to 43.3M, a growth of 6.5%, five times the population growth rate.
Despite being a truly sad statistic, the numbers do not do consumer spending numbers any justice. Not only have we hit a rough patch in the economy, but the demographics are rapidly changing as well, limiting the amount of consumer spending that can be expected to take place even once things return to “normal”, something which every retail investor should be aware of when placing bets.
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