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Every month the U.S. Treasury releases data on the federal budget, including the current deficit. The following contains budget data for October 2021, which was the first month of fiscal year (FY) 2022.
The deficit for October 2021 was $119 billion less than the deficit recorded in October 2020. That decrease in the deficit was due to a 19 percent increase in revenues and a 14 percent decrease in outlays.
However, certain federal payments were shifted into October 2020 because November 1 fell on a weekend. Without such timing shifts, the deficit in October 2021 would have been $56 billion lower than the deficit in October 2020.
The Congressional Budget Office anticipates that the federal deficit for this fiscal year will decline relative to last year’s total. However, that projection could change significantly because lawmakers have recently enacted major new infrastructure spending and are considering another package of new spending programs.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, debt held by the public has increased by about 30 percent. Once the situation has stabilized, policymakers should turn their focus to the country’s underlying fiscal situation.