Wednesday, March 21, 2012

SNAP: Supporting Families and the Economy

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program served approximately 45 million Americans in fiscal year 2011 and in doing so is credited with preventing a dramatic increase in hunger and food insecurity in spite of the historically high levels of unemployment and underemployment throughout the recession and its slow recovery. A new report from the Center for American Progress highlights the importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in not only lifting 3.9 million families out of poverty (in 2010) – but also its strong impact on the U.S. economy. According to the report, the program plays an important role in sustaining demand for groceries provided by businesses across the country. The paper states that each $1 billion spent by recipients enables nearly 14,000 Americans to find or keep their jobs. That means approximately 1 million workers were employed last year because of this program.

The report, The Economic Consequences of Cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, highlights both the economic benefits of SNAP and the potential consequences for the economy if the SNAP program is reduced, including:

  • Each $1 billion reduction in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eliminates 13,718 jobs.
  • A 10 percent reduction in the size of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would cause more than 96,000 job losses.
  • These losses would be particularly strong in food-related industries, which would lose as many as 11,000 jobs under a 10 percent cut to the program.
  • Job losses will likely have the greatest impact on younger workers, since they account for a disproportionate share of workers in food-related industries— nearly one-third of grocery employees are under 25, compared to just 14 percent of workers in all industries.

For state policymakers, creating a policy agenda aimed at rebuilding their state’s economic health demands investing in working parents and their children. As states work to serve families in need, considering the budget decisions at the federal level for programs like SNAP is important. To learn more about the SNAP program click here. For fact sheets on creating jobs, economic growth and an educated workforce for the future visit