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Economy in Brief

U.S. Government Budget Deficit Grows in the First Half of FY 2020
by Tom Moeller  April 10, 2020

The U.S. Treasury Department reported that for the first six months of FY 2020, the federal government budget deficit rose to $743.59 billion, up 7.6% y/y. During March alone, the federal government ran a $119.13 billion budget deficit compared to a $146.95 billion deficit twelve months earlier. A $150 billion deficit had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

So far this fiscal year, federal government receipts rose 6.4% y/y. Personal income tax revenues grew 6.3% y/y. Corporate tax receipts improved by roughly one-quarter y/y so far in FY 2020. Social insurance taxes grew a steady 5.4% y/y this fiscal year. Customs duties, which include tariffs, increased 12.9% y/y so far this fiscal year.

Total federal government outlays have risen 6.8% y/y so far in FY 2020. Outlays on national defense programs grew 7.1%. Medicare outlays growth eased to 6.5% y/y so far this fiscal year, while outlays on health programs grew 5.2% y/y after a 6.1% y/y gain in FY 2019. Spending on Social Security increased a steady 5.3% during the first six months of FY 2020. Spending on income security programs decelerated to 1.4% so far in FY 2020. Interest payments rose a lessened 4.8% y/y.

Haver's data on Federal Government outlays and receipts as well as CBO forecasts are contained in USECON; detailed data can be found in the GOVFIN database. The Action Economics Forecast Survey numbers are in the AS1REPNA database.

United States Government Finance March FY'19 FY'18 FY'17 FY'16
Budget Balance (Billions) -- $-119.13 $-984.39 $-779.00 $-665.80 $-664.80
Fiscal YTD -- $-743.59 -- -- -- --
  As a percent of GDP -- -- -4.6% -3.8% -3.5% -3.2%
% of Total
Net Revenues (Fiscal Year YTD 2020, Y/Y % Change) 100 6.4 4.0 0.4 1.5 0.6
  Individual Income Taxes 50 6.3 2.0 6.1 2.7 0.3
  Corporate Income Taxes 7 23.9 5.4 -22.4 -2.0 -11.4
  Social Insurance Taxes 36 5.4 6.2 0.8 4.2 4.7
  Customs Duties 2 12.9 71.4 19.4 -0.8 -0.6
Net Outlays  (Fiscal Year YTD 2020, Y/Y % Change) 100 6.8 8.2 3.2 3.3 4.5
  National Defense 15 7.1 8.8 0.1 6.1 0.7
  Health 13 5.2 6.1 9.8 -1.9 6.2
  Medicare 15 6.5 10.6 -1.4 0.6 8.7
  Income Security 12 1.4 4.0 -1.6 -2.1 1.0
  Social Security 23 5.3 5.7 4.5 3.1 3.2
  Veterans Benefits & Services 4 8.4 11.8 1.3 1.2 9.3
  Education, Training, Employment & Social Services 3 6.7 43.8 -34.0 31.6 -10.2
  Interest 8 4.8 15.7 23.6 9.1 7.8
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