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Friday, January 4, 2013

Economic data vs food stamps

This data seems a little odd to me.  Lets start with the monthly job data for 2012.

Job growth was positive every month that we have data for.  It got pretty low from May-June, but stayed positive.  July, Aug., and Sept., were all above 100k new jobs.  Here is a chart showing the change in food stamp users.


In the fist part of the year the food stamp usage was actually declining.  However, starting in June the numbers started going up again.  Notice the surge in July, Aug. and Sept. That was the same time there was supposedly a surge in job creation.  The Sept. data is the latest released as of early Dec.  It really seems to be at odds with the job data.  This surge was before Sandy and in a quarter that supposedly had a 3% GDP growth rate.  I am having a hard time believing this data can all be real.  I am pretty sure the government knows roughly how many food stamps users there are.  I also know that the GDP and employment data is subject to big revisions.  It looks like there is a pretty big discrepancy here.  It will be interesting to see what happens with these data items down the road.  The ECRI claims we probably entered a recession in July.  I am having a hard time coming up with another explanation for the surge in food stamps at that time.  It is possible they are correct.


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