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Economy in Brief

U.S. Government Budget Surplus Shrinks in April
by Tom Moeller  May 13, 2019

The U.S. Treasury Department reported that the federal government ran a $160.3 billion surplus during April compared to a $214.3 billion surplus one year earlier. A $165.0 billion surplus had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During the first seven months of FY'19, the budget deficit deepened to $530.9 billion compared to a deficit of $385.4 billion during the first seven months of FY'18.

Net revenues rose 1.8% y/y so far this fiscal year compared to a 0.4% gain during all of FY'18. Individual income receipts rose 0.6% y/y so far in FY'19, compared to a 6.1% rise in FY'18. The decline in corporate tax rates reduced business tax receipts by 6.7% y/y after a one-third drop last year. Social insurance receipts rose 4.7% y/y following a 0.8% gain in FY'18, and excise taxes rose by 16.8% y/y after last year's 13.3% increase.

Government spending increased 7.6% y/y so far in FY'19 after a 3.2% rise last year. National defense spending strengthened 11.0% y/y, roughly double the y/y gain during all of last fiscal year. Spending on health programs increased 5.9% y/y after a 3.3% rise while Medicare outlays rose 12.5% y/y following a 1.4% drop. Growth in income security payments have increased 3.2% y/y so far in FY'19 after a 1.6% FY'18 decline. Social Security payments gained 5.2% y/y after rising 4.5%. Interest payments rose by 13.6% y/y with the larger budget deficit.

Haver's data on Federal Government outlays and receipts are contained in USECON. Considerable detail is given in the separate GOVFIN database. The Action Economics Forecast Survey numbers are in the AS1REPNA database.

United States Government Finance April FY'18 FY'17 FY'16 FY'15
Budget Balance (Billions) -- $160.3 $-779.0 $-665.8 $-585.6 $-439.1
Fiscal 'YTD -- $-530.9 -- -- -- --
  As a percent of GDP -- -- 3.9% 3.5% 3.2% 2.5%
% of Total
Net Revenues (Fiscal Year YTD 2018, Y/Y Change) 100 1.8% 0.4% 1.5% 0.6% 7.6%
  Individual Income Taxes 51 0.6 6.1 2.7 0.3 10.5
  Corporate Income Taxes -- -6.7 -31.1 -0.8 -12.9 7.2
  Social Insurance Taxes 35 4.7 0.8 4.2 4.7 4.1
  Excise Taxes 3 16.8 13.3 -11.8 -3.3 5.3
Net Outlays  (Fiscal Year 2017 YTD, Y/Y % Change) 100 7.6 3.2 3.3 4.5 5.3
  National Defense 16 11.0 5.3 6.1 0.7 -2.3
  Health 13 5.9 3.3 -1.9 6.2 17.8
  Medicare 14 12.5 -1.4 0.6 8.7 6.7
  Income Security 12 3.2 -1.6 -2.1 1.0 -0.9
  Social Security 24 5.2 4.5 3.1 3.2 4.4
  Veterans Benefits & Services 4 15.0 1.3 1.2 9.3 6.8
  Education, Training, Employment & Social Services 2 5.7 -34.0 31.6 -10.2 34.7
  Interest 8 13.6 23.6 9.1 7.8 -1.8
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