One of the clearest indicators of the sheer awfulness of the economy after the financial crisis was the soaring numbers of food stamp (SNAP) participants, which rose from 33 million in 2009 to over 47 million in late 2012:
(U.S. Department of Agriculture)
This signified that millions more people in one of the world's richest countries were struggling to feed themselves. Thankfully, though, things are finally turning around. Anna-Louise Jackson and Anthony Feld of Bloomberg write:
Participation in the U.S. government food-stamp program is declining modestly as low-income Americans get some economic reprieve. About 46.25 million people were enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in April, according to the most-recent data available from the Department of Agriculture. That's down 3.2 percent from a high of almost 47.8 million in December 2012. [Bloomberg]
So finally — after a deeply uneven recovery — we can say that things are beginning to improve for the poorest people in the economy. That's welcome news — but there is still a very long way to go.