Thousands of full-time workers in NC must use food stamps

Millions of adults in the United States work full-time for wages so low that they qualify for government safety net programs for food and medical care, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report released Wednesday.

Of the 1.2 million people using food stamps in North Carolina, 12% were working adults, the report said.

Most workers in the United States who use food stamps or Medicaid are employed in stores and restaurants, the report said. The agency used 11 states’ Medicaid and SNAP data from February 2020 – before the pandemic job losses – and census data to build its report. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly called food stamps.

The report included information from North Carolina’s food stamp program.

Looking at North Carolina employers with 50 or more SNAP recipients, the GAO estimated 89% were private sector companies, 4% were public sector employers, and 4% were non-profits.

An estimated 26% of adult, working SNAP recipients in North Carolina worked in restaurants, 13% worked in department stores, and 12% worked in grocery stores.

The top three employers in North Carolina who workers used food stamps were Walmart, which employed about 2.8% of working SNAP recipients; Food Lion, which employed about 1.8%, and McDonald’s, which employed about 1.4%.

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