Food-stamp use rose 2.4% in the U.S. in May from a year earlier, with more than 15% of the U.S. population receiving benefits.

One of the federal government’s biggest social welfare programs, which expanded when the economy convulsed, isn’t shrinking back alongside the recovery.

Food stamp rolls were up 0.2% from the prior month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in data that aren’t adjusted for seasonal variations. Though annual growth continues, the pace has slowed since the depths of the recession.