Nearly one in five people (18.6%) reported that they faced a food hardship at some point in 201. That’s according to a new report by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), who analyzed survey data collected by Gallup through the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The specific question Gallup posed to survey takers was: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”  A “yes” answer to this question indicates that the respondent experienced a “food hardship” or, as the Census Bureau/USDA calls it, “food insecurity”. Read more HERE

According to data just released by the Gallup Poll, the percent of uninsured Americans has continued to increase throughout 2011. In January 2008, 14.8 percent of American adults were uninsured. By December 2011, the percent had risen to 17.7, an increase of nearly 3 percentage points.

States have a lot of flexibility to develop and implement their own Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs - often referred to as “welfare” benefits – which are funded in part by a federal block grant and in part with state funds, called the “maintenance of effort” (MOE) requirement. As a condition of receiving the federal block grant money for TANF, states must spend a certain amount on programs for needy families based on a formula.

A settlement between U.S. states and the nation’s largest mortgage lenders over foreclosure abuses has five primary components: principal reduction, refinancing, payments to foreclosed homeowners, payments directly to states and payments to the federal government. The settlement is between 49 state attorneys general, the Justice Department, the U.S. Department of Housing and five major banks. The total value of the settlement could range from $25 billion to upwards of $39 billion. States with larger numbers of underwater and distressed homeowners will receive a larger chunk of the benefits.

Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), which provides information about the number of job openings available in a particular month as well as the hires rate and the separations rate.  Combining this information with the number of unemployed persons (also provided by the BLS), we can calculate the ratio of unemployed to job openings. In December 2011, there were 13.1 million persons classified as unemployed but only 3.4 million job openings, which makes the ratio of unemployed to job openings just under 4-to-1. For comparison, the average (mean) ratio from January 2002 to January 2008 was 2-to-1.