Federal Deficit and Debt: February 2022

Every month the U.S. Treasury releases data on the federal budget, including the current deficit. The following contains budget data for February 2022, which was the fifth month of fiscal year (FY) 2022.

Current Federal Deficit

The federal government ran a budget deficit in most months of fiscal year 2022

  • Federal Budget Deficit for February 2022: $217 billion
  • Federal Budget Deficit for February 2021: $311 billion

The budget ran a deficit of $217 billion in February 2022, an improvement of $94 billion from the deficit recorded in February 2021. This February, outlays were $53 billion lower than they were in the same month last year, and revenues were $42 billion higher.

Cumulative Federal Deficit

The cumulative budget deficit for this year is lower than it was in the past couple fiscal years

  • Cumulative FY22 Deficit Through February 2022: $476 billion
  • Cumulative Budget Deficit Over Same Period in FY21: $1,047 billion

The cumulative deficit for the first five months of FY22 was $571 billion less than it was through the first five months of FY21, reflecting a $371 billion increase in revenues and a $201 billion decrease in outlays.

The growth in revenues stems primarily from higher wages and salaries that resulted in increased withholding of individual income and payroll taxes. The decrease in outlays was driven by lower payments for unemployment insurance and the waning of programs to address the economic effects of the pandemic, such as loans and loan guarantees to small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program and stimulus payments. In addition, the government has collected $81 billion in receipts from auctions of electromagnetic spectrum this year (relative to just $4 billion during this period last year).

Spending from this year is lower than spending from last fiscal year

Revenues from this year are higher than revenues from last fiscal year

National Debt

The national debt is on an unsustainable path

  • Debt Held by the Public at the end of February 2022: $23.8 trillion
  • Debt Held by the Public at the end of February 2021: $21.8 trillion

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, debt held by the public has increased by 35 percent. Once the situation has stabilized, policymakers should turn their focus to the country’s underlying fiscal situation.

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