Looking for another measure of the broader U.S. economy and how households have coped with the long-running recession? You need go no further than its public schools. Demand for subsidized school lunch meals increased rapidly over the past five years as a result of the extended downturn. More than 21 million students — two out of every three school lunch customers — qualified for subsidized meals last year, a 17 percent increase since 2007. Schools will finally begin ...

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