A fifth of Americans, or roughly 59 million people, are poor enough to qualify for food stamps made available by government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), The Financial Times reports.
More than 44 million Americans are receiving food through the program's initiatives, the highest number in the its 50-year history.
SNAP has escaped budget cuts because it feeds the poor and benefits suppliers.
"The reason it enjoys [political] support is that it benefits growers [and] ranchers," says Kevin Concannon, secretary for food and nutrition at the Department of Agriculture, which administers the program.
|A federal food stamps card.
"As Americans, we like to think highly of the good things in our country. We struggle with acknowledging that in our midst, there are people who go hungry," says Concannon.
But brighter days may be ahead for many of its recipients.
The unemployment rate in February dropped to 8.9 percent from 9.0 percent in January.
It was the indicator's best performance since April 2009 and well below a CNN prediction for 9.2 percent.
Some experts says the labor market is finally gaining ground, including Sung Won Sohn, economics professor at Cal State University Channel Islands.
"The last piston in the economic engine has begun to fire," Sohn tells CNN.
Still, the government acknowledges, the rate is still far above pre-recession levels.
"The overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years, but there will surely be bumps in the road ahead," says Austan Goolsbee, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, according to CNN.
"It is important not to read too much into any one monthly report."
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