Although the data from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service has a lag of a few months, an important supplement to a monthly review of employment in the state is some sense of people’s reliance on government handouts. Last month, I began looking at the gap between the number of jobs that the Rhode Island economy has created since the start of the recession in January 2007 and the number of people whom the state had added to the rolls of recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
In July, the gap stood at 109,835, or around 10.4% of the state’s estimated population, by far the largest gap in New England. By August, the gap had increased to 110,995, or 10.5% of the population.
The total number of Rhode Islanders participating in SNAP in August increased to 173,977, which was still 16.5% of the population. Maine had the next-highest percentage in New England, at 14.8%.