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Minnesota food stamp demand remains high

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Even though the state's economy is recovering, more than 500,000 Minnesotans rely on food stamps. That's more than double the number 10 years ago.

Michelle Ness, executive director of the PRISM food shelf in Golden Valley, says the problem is that people who get re-employed are underemployed. She says her clients increasingly can and do work, but their jobs don't pay very well.

State Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson agrees that underemployment is part of the reason. But she says there other factors, too. More people are eligible, and the state made a big push to sign up eligible people during the recession.

Congress has tried to scale back food stamp use, and Minnesota's enrollment has fallen 6 percent in the past year.

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