Food stamp users hit record in ’08

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By Ralph Damiani

Food stamp use has surged statewide to an all-time high in 2008. Another sign that the nation’s economic turmoil is being felt here, the Associated Press reports.

In December, the number on food stamps jumped by more than 6,000. State data show that 268,400 people received food stamps in December, an annual increase of 15.3 percent.

That compares with 232,696 recipients statewide in December 2007.

This goes hand in hand with the report from the Department of Workforce Solutions that New Mexico’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in December, up from 4.3 percent in November. 

The national unemployment rate increased to 7.2 percent.

Now, more than 13 percent of the state’s population is receiving food stamps. McKinley County has the largest percentage of residents on food stamps at 25 percent.

It’s followed by Torrance County with 22.7 percent and Socorro County with 20 percent.

Luna, San Miguel, Dona Ana, Cibola, Quay, Rio Arriba and Valencia counties round out the 10 counties with the highest percentage of residents receiving food stamps, the AP reported.

Here in Los Alamos, we had the smallest percentage in the state with only 0.7 percent of the population on stamps.

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