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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gov't Budget Deficit Deepens in Fiscal Year 2017
by Tom Moeller  October 23, 2017

The U.S. Treasury Department reported that in FY'17 the federal government ran a $665.7 billion budget deficit compared to a $585.6 billion deficit in FY'16. During September alone, the surplus of $8.0 billion compared to a $33.4 billion surplus in 2016. A September surplus of $10.0 billion had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Overall net revenues improved 1.5% y/y in FY'17 after a 0.6% rise during FY'16. Individual income taxes increased 2.7% y/y following a 0.3% gain in all of FY'16. Social insurance contributions increased 4.2% y/y after a 4.7% rise, while excise taxes fell 11.8% y/y after a 3.3% decline. Corporate income taxes slipped 0.8% in FY'17 following a 12.9% drop in FY'16.

Government spending increased 3.3% in FY'17 compared to 4.5% growth during all of the previous year. Health insurance spending improved 4.1% y/y after a 6.2% rise in FY'16, while Medicare outlays nudged 0.6% y/y after an 8.7% gain last year. Income security payments fell 2.1% y/y with lower unemployment, but Social Security payments increased a steady 3.1% y/y. National defense expenditures grew 0.8% y/y in FY'17 compared to 0.7% growth last year, while interest outlays strengthened 9.2% after a 7.8% FY'16 gain.

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 FY'17 FY'16 FY'15 FY'14 FY'13
Budget Balance -- $-665.7 bil. $-585.6 bil. $-439.1 bil. $-483.4 bil. $-680.2 bil.
  As a percent of GDP -- 3.5% 3.2% 2.5% 2.8% 4.1%
% of Total
Net Revenues (Fiscal Year YTD 2017, Y/Y % Change) 100 1.5% 0.6% 7.6% 8.9% 13.3%
  Individual Income Taxes 47 2.7 0.3 10.5 5.9 16.3
  Corporate Income Taxes 9 -0.8 -12.9 7.2 17.3 12.9
  Social Insurance Taxes 34 4.2 4.7 4.1 8.0 12.1
  Excise Taxes 3 -11.8 -3.3 5.3 11.1 6.3
Net Outlays  (Fiscal Year 2017 YTD, Y/Y % Change) 100 3.3 4.5 5.3 1.4 -2.4
  National Defense 15 0.8 0.7 -2.3 -4.7 -6.3
  Health 15 4.1 6.2 17.8 14.3 3.3
  Medicare 15 0.6 8.7 6.7 2.8 5.5
  Income Security 13 -2.1 1.0 -0.9 -4.3 -1.1
  Social Security 24 3.1 3.2 4.4 4.5 5.2
  Veterans Benefits & Services 4 1.2 9.3 6.8 7.7 11.5
  Education, Training, Employment & Social Services 4 31.6 -10.2 34.7 25.9 -21.9
  Interest 7 9.2 7.8 -1.8 2.8 0.4
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