Salient to Investors:

  • Nicholas Colas at ConvergEx said participation in SNAP is a distress indicator so its recent decline suggests the recovery is benefiting more Americans.
  • Russell Price at Ameriprise Financial said many low-income households are seeing modest tailwinds as several states have increased minimum wage and the federal level may be increased in 2015. Price said North Carolina could be a barometer because it cut long-term unemployment benefits in July 2013, six months before the feds.
  • Diane Garnick at Clear Alternatives said the average number of weekly hours worked is one of the most important factors influencing consumer discretionary spending and said the economy is picking up dramatically, with confidence another driver. She said the modest decline in SNAP could be partially because the program approached its maximum number of eligible participants, qualification standards were tightened, benefits were cut in November, and becuase of overpayment errors in F2012.

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