GOVERNMENT DEBT

America's budget deficit dips below US$1 trillion

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 October, 2013, 1:43pm
UPDATED : Friday, 01 November, 2013, 3:19am
AP

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For the first time in five years, the US government has run a budget deficit below US$1 trillion.

The government said on Wednesday that the deficit for the 2013 budget year totalled US$680.3 billion, down from US$1.09 trillion last year. That is the smallest imbalance since 2008, when the government ran a US$458.6 billion deficit.

But it is still the fifth-largest deficit of all time.

The deficit narrowed for the budget year that ended in September because tax revenue jumped 13.3 per cent to US$2.77 trillion while spending declined 2.4 per cent to US$3.45 trillion.

A stronger economy created more jobs and income over the past year, which generated greater tax revenue.

At the same time, the White House and Congress agreed in January to end a temporary reduction in social security taxes while raising income taxes on the wealthy.

US government spending fell in part because of across-the-board cuts that took effect in March.

The government stressed in announcing the results that it was succeeding in reducing the deficit from the record levels that had been hit.

"It is now less than half of what it was when the president took office," Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a statement.

The deficit for the just-completed budget year represents 4.1 per cent of the economy, down from 6.8 per cent last year. The record for a deficit was US$1.4 trillion, set in 2009, President Barack Obama's first year in office.

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