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Economy in Brief

U.S. Budget Surplus Eases in January; Deficit Declines This Fiscal Year
by Tom Moeller  February 10, 2017

The U.S. Treasury Department reported that during January, the federal government ran a $51.3 billion budget surplus compared to a $55.2 billion surplus in January 2016. A $33.0 billion surplus had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. So far in FY'17, the federal government has run a $156.9 billion budget deficit, down 2%, compared to $160.4 billion in the first four months of FY'16.

Overall net revenues improved 0.5% so far in FY'17 versus FY'16. Individual income taxes increased 3.2% y/y following a 0.3% rise in all of FY'16. Social insurance contributions increased an improved 5.6% y/y, while excise taxes fell 5.8% y/y. Corporate income taxes declined 7.8% y/y following a 12.9% drop during all of FY'16.

Government spending edged 0.2% higher y/y so far in FY'17 compared to 4.5% growth during all of last year. Health insurance spending improved 8.7% y/y and Social Security outlays rose 2.9% y/y. Working the other way, Medicare expenditures declined 7.6% y/y after 8.8% growth in FY'16; and income security spending fell 6.1% y/y with lower unemployment. National defense expenditures declined 1.5% y/y so far in FY'17, but interest outlays increased 12.9% 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 FY'16 FY'15 FY'14 FY'13
Budget Balance -- $51.3 bil. $-587.4 bil. $-438.9 bil. $-483.4 bil. $-680.2 bil.
  As a percent of GDP -- -- 3.2% 2.5% 2.8% 4.1%
% of Total
Net Revenues (Fiscal Year 2017, Y/Y % Change) 100 0.5% 0.6% 7.6% 8.9% 13.3%
  Individual Income Taxes 47 3.2 0.3 10.5 5.9 16.3
  Corporate Income Taxes 9 -7.8 -12.9 7.2 17.3 12.9
  Social Insurance Taxes 34 5.6 4.7 4.1 8.0 12.1
  Excise Taxes 3 -5.8 -3.3 5.3 11.1 6.3
Net Outlays  (Fiscal year 2017, Y/Y % Change) 100 0.2 4.5 5.3 1.4 -2.4
  National Defense 15 -1.5 0.7 -2.3 -4.7 -6.3
  Health 13 8.7 6.0 17.8 14.3 3.3
  Medicare 15 -7.6 8.8 6.7 2.8 5.5
  Income Security 13 -6.1 1.0 -0.9 -4.3 -1.1
  Social Security 24 2.9 3.2 4.4 4.5 5.2
  Veterans Benefits & Services 4 -7.6 9.3 6.8 7.7 11.5
  Education, Training, Employment & Social Services 3 -8.2 -10.2 34.7 25.9 -21.9
  Interest 6 12.9 7.8 -1.8 2.8 0.4
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