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Economy in Brief

U.S. Government Budget Deficit Widens During March
by Tom Moeller  April 12, 2021

The U.S. Treasury Department reported a federal budget deficit of $659.6 billion during March compared to a deficit of $119.0 billion one year earlier. For the first six months of this fiscal year the deficit rose to $1.706 trillion.

Federal government outlays have risen 45.3% y/y so far in FY'21. The increase has been driven by a 243.4% surge in income security payments due to coronavirus relief payments, economic stimulus checks and outlays related to a higher unemployment rate. Spending on health programs also surged 28.2% y/y. Medicare payments rose 4.6% y/y and Social Security payments increased 3.9% y/y. Defense outlays rose 4.2% y/y so far in FY'21 but interest payments fell 15.1% y/y.

Overall revenues have increased 6.3% y/y so far this fiscal year. Individual income tax payments rose 4.2% y/y in FY'21 due to improved economic growth while corporate tax payments increased even more quickly. Social insurance taxes rose 3.7% y/y, but the reduction in global economic trade lowered customs duties by 6.5% y/y.

Haver's data on Federal Government outlays 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 Mar FY'20 FY'19 FY'18 FY'17
Budget Balance (Billion $) -- -$659,592 -$3,131.92 -$984.39 -$779.00 -$665.83
Fiscal YTD -- -$1,706.2 -- -- -- --
% of Total (FY 2020)
Net Revenues (Fiscal Year YTD 2021, Y/Y % Change) 100 6.3 -1.2 4.0 0.4 1.5
  Individual Income Taxes 47 7.2 -6.4 2.0 6.1 2.7
  Corporate Income Taxes 6 23.9 -8.0 12.5 -31.1 -0.8
  Social Insurance Taxes 38 3.7 5.4 6.2 0.8 4.2
  Customs Duties 2 -6.5 -3.2 71.4 19.4 -0.8
Net Outlays  (Fiscal Year YTD 2021, Y/Y % Change) 100 45.3 47.3 8.2 3.2 3.3
  National Defense 11 4.2 5.6 8.8 0.1 6.1
  Health 11 28.2 28.0 6.1 9.8 -1.9
  Medicare 12 4.6 19.2 10.6 -1.4 0.6
  Income Security 19 243.4 145.0 3.9 -1.6 -2.1
  Social Security 17 3.9 4.9 5.7 4.5 3.1
  Veterans Benefits & Services 3 9.7 9.3 11.9 1.3 1.2
  Education, Training, Employment & Social Services 4 16.0 75.5 43.7 -34.0 31.6
  Interest 5 -15.1 -8.2 15.7 23.6 9.1
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