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U.S. November Deficit Rises Sharply

The U.S. federal deficit in November has risen $57 billion (30%) from the year before to $249 billion—a record-breaking monthly increase. Revenues fell and spending increased on education, health care, as well as the interest on the national debt, which rose dramatically, the US Treasury said Monday.    

Government spending rose 6 percent in November, or $28 billion, as spending for education, health care and interest on the national debt rose. During the first two months of the fiscal year, the federal budget deficit fell to $336.4 billion, compared with $356.4 billion for the same time last year. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the federal government had deficits of $82 billion this past October. 

For the 2023 fiscal year, which began last month, the U.S. government is running a deficit of $336 billion—$20 billion less than in a comparable year-ago period. The Congressional Budget Office reported the federal government ran a $207 billion deficit in November 2019, the second month of the fiscal year 2020. Higher costs this year due to COVID-19 and recession, however, have outpaced normal revenue increases, with the federal government running monthly deficits of $124 billion.   

The year-to-date federal budget deficit is still considerably higher, with the 2019 deficit at $984 billion. The growing deficit is adding to the national debt. According to the Treasury’s latest monthly report, the government made $103 billion in total interest payments on its national debt over the first two months of the year—87 percent more than it spent during the same time frame the previous year.    

The latest monthly Treasury statement shows U.S. government revenues were 10% lower in November than the previous year, mostly due to lower incomes collected from individuals who had their taxes suspended and higher incomes received from individuals who had their taxes returned, and lower incomes at the Federal Reserve. In addition, the Federal Reserve’s remittances to the Treasury were not received in November, after $8 billion were sent a year ago.    

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