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The greatest recession since the Great Depression has created a new, large and growing class of “new poor,” composed of millions who held jobs for most of their lives but now face years of unemployment and little hope of ever regaining the standard of living they once knew and took for granted.
Millions of Americans remain out of work, out of savings and soon will be out of unemployment benefits.
Economists says a recovery will leave more people behind than ever before because the recovery will not create enough jobs to put the record levels of jobless back to work.
Social scientists call this growing class the new poor: former middle class Americans who face living on public assistance for the first time in their lives and can look towards a bleak future with little hope of regaining the ground they lost.
The social safety net is buckling under the strain. Food stamp payouts are at an all-time high. Energy assistance programs have run out of money. Some 2.7 million unemployed lose unemployment check by the end of April unless Congress approves President Barack Obama’s proposal to extend payments.