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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 February 2021, which was the fifth month of fiscal year (FY) 2021.
The deficit for February 2021 was $76 billion larger than the deficit recorded in February 2020. Certain payments were shifted out of February 2020 because February 1 fell on a weekend; other payments were shifted into February 2020 because March 1 fell on a weekend. Without those shifts, the deficit in February 2021 would have been $73 billion larger than the deficit in February 2020.
The cumulative deficit for the first five months of FY21 was $422 billion larger than it was through the first five months of FY20. The increase in the cumulative deficit reflects a $492 billion increase in outlays that was only partially offset by a $70 billion increase in revenues.
Because March 1, 2020 fell on a weekend, certain payments were shifted into February 2020. Without those shifts, the deficit for the first five months of FY 2021 would have been $474 billion larger than it was during the first five months of FY 2020.
The sizeable deficit in FY20 has pushed up the current amount of debt held by the public by 25 percent relative to a year ago. Eventually, once the situation has stabilized, policymakers should turn their focus to the country’s underlying fiscal situation.