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Economy in Brief

U.S. Government Budget Deficit Widens
by Tom Moeller  November 13, 2017

The U.S. Treasury Department reported that the federal government ran a $63.2 billion budget deficit during October compared to a $45.8 billion deficit in October 2016. A deficit of $49.0 billion had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Net revenues increased 6.2% y/y as corporate income taxes surged by nearly two-thirds, after slipping during all of last fiscal year. Individual income taxes increased 5.1% y/y following a 2.7% rise last year. The gain in social insurance receipts picked up to 5.9% y/y and excise taxes soared by almost one-third y/y.

Government spending increased 11.6% y/y compared to 3.3% growth during all of FY'17. National defense spending rose 14.6% y/y after slight increases during the last two fiscal years. Health insurance spending improved 10.2% y/y following two years of single-digit growth, while Medicare outlays improved 7.7% y/y after little change last year. Income security payments strengthened 5.3% y/y after the FY17 decline; and Social Security payments increased a steady 3.0% 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 Oct FY'18 FY'17 FY'16 FY'15 FY'14 FY'13
Budget Balance (Billions) -- $-63.2 $-665.7 $-585.6 $-439.1 $-483.4 $-680.2
  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 6.2% 1.5% 0.6% 7.6% 8.9% 13.3%
  Individual Income Taxes 47 5.1 2.7 0.3 10.5 5.9 16.3
  Corporate Income Taxes 9 63.8 -0.8 -12.9 7.2 17.3 12.9
  Social Insurance Taxes 34 5.9 4.2 4.7 4.1 8.0 12.1
  Excise Taxes 3 30.8 -11.8 -3.3 5.3 11.1 6.3
Net Outlays  (Fiscal Year 2017 YTD, Y/Y % Change) 100 11.6 3.3 4.5 5.3 1.4 -2.4
  National Defense 15 14.6 0.8 0.7 -2.3 -4.7 -6.3
  Health 15 10.2 4.1 6.2 17.8 14.3 3.3
  Medicare 15 7.7 0.6 8.7 6.7 2.8 5.5
  Income Security 13 5.3 -2.1 1.0 -0.9 -4.3 -1.1
  Social Security 24 3.0 3.1 3.2 4.4 4.5 5.2
  Veterans Benefits & Services 4 12.4 1.2 9.3 6.8 7.7 11.5
  Education, Training, Employment & Social Services 4 82.6 31.6 -10.2 34.7 25.9 -21.9
  Interest 7 21.7 9.2 7.8 -1.8 2.8 0.4
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