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Economy in Brief

U.S. Budget Surplus Develops
by Tom Moeller  February 10, 2016

The U.S. Treasury Department reported a $55.2 billion budget surplus during January versus a $17.5 billion deficit twelve months earlier. Calendar quirks contributed to the improvement. A $16.0 billion surplus had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During the first four months of FY 2016, the budget deficit totaled $160.4 billion versus last year's $194.2 billion deficit.

Overall revenues increased 3.2% versus the first four months of FY'16. Individual income taxes grew a moderate 3.5% y/y and social insurance contributions advanced 4.9% y/y. Weaker business profitability lowered corporate receipts by 11.9% y/y while excise taxes fell 1.7%.

Government spending eased 0.1% y/y so far in FY'16. National defense spending declined 2.1% y/y and income security payments fell 11.8% y/y with the lower unemployment rate. Medicare payments were off 6.8% y/y. Outlays on health programs advanced 6.0% y/y with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. but veterans benefits & services payments declined 4.4% y/y. Social Security payments grew 4.0% and spending on education, training employment & social services programs surged 9.5% y/y. Interest payments grew 8.2% y/y.

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 January 2016 FY'15 FY'14 FY'13 FY'12
Budget Balance -- $55.2 bil. -$438.9 bil. -$483.4 bil. -$680.2 bil. -$1,089.2 bil.
  As a percent of GDP -- -- 2.5 2.8 4.1 6.8
% of Total
Net Revenues (Fiscal YTD, Y/Y % Change) 100 3.2% 7.6% 8.9% 13.3% 6.4%
  Individual Income Taxes 47 3.5 10.5 5.9 16.3 3.7
  Corporate Income Taxes 11 -11.9 7.2 17.3 12.9 33.8
  Social Insurance Taxes 33 4.9 4.1 8.0 12.1 3.2
  Excise Taxes 3 -1.7 5.3 11.1 6.3 9.2
Net Outlays  (Fiscal YTD, Y/Y % Change) 100 -0.1 5.2 1.4 -2.4 -1.7
  National Defense 16 -2.1 -2.3 -4.7 -6.3 -3.9
  Health 13 6.0 17.8 14.3 3.3 -7.0
  Medicare 15 -6.8 6.7 2.8 5.5 -2.8
  Income Security 14 -11.8 -0.9 -4.3 -1.1 -9.1
  Social Security 24 4.0 4.4 4.5 5.2 5.8
  Veterans Benefits & Services 4 -4.4 6.8 7.7 11.5 -2.0
  Education, Training, Employment & Social Services 3 9.5 34.7 25.9 -21.9 -10.3
  Interest 6 8.2 -1.8 2.8 0.4 -3.0
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