A record 37.2 million people, or about one out of every eight Americans, received food stamps in September, as the recession drove a surging jobless rate, according to a government report.
Recipients of the subsidy for retail-food purchases climbed 18 percent from a year earlier, according to a statement posted today on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Web site.
Participation has set records for 10 straight months. The government boosted food aid as unemployment soared, heading to a 26-year high of 10.2 percent in October. The jobless rate cooled to 10 percent last month, the Labor Department said on Dec. 4.
“We’ve been working to get that money out the door” to families that need assistance, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said last week in an interview.
Nevada had the biggest increase in food-stamp participation rates from a year earlier, surging 54 percent, followed by a 46.5 percent jump in Utah, according to the USDA.
Texas had the most recipients at 3.1 million, followed by California with 2.9 Million and New York with 2.6 Million.