Federal Deficit and Debt: November 2020

Every month the U.S. Treasury releases data on the federal budget, including the current deficit. The following contains budget data for November 2020, which was the second month of fiscal year (FY) 2021.

Current Federal Deficit

The federal government ran a budget deficit in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2020

  • Federal Budget Deficit for November 2020: $145 billion
  • Federal Budget Deficit for November 2019: $209 billion

The deficit for November 2020 was $64 billion smaller than the deficit recorded in November 2019. The deficits in November of both years were affected by shifts in the timing of certain federal payments because November 1, 2020 and December 1, 2019 each fell on a weekend. Without those shifts, the November 2020 deficit would have been $49 billion larger than the deficit recorded last November. The deficit varies from month to month and some months may even record a surplus — for example, when taxpayers are submitting their personal income taxes at the filing deadline.

Cumulative Federal Deficit

Cumulative budget deficits have been larger in recent years

  • Cumulative FY21 Deficit Through November 2020: $429 billion
  • Cumulative Budget Deficit Over Same Period in FY20: $343 billion

The cumulative deficit for the first two months of FY21 was $86 billion larger than it was through the first two months of FY20. The increase in the cumulative deficit reflects a $73 billion increase in outlays and a $13 billion decrease in revenues.

Spending to date is currently outpacing spending from the same period last fiscal year

Revenues to date are largely outpacing revenues from the same time last fiscal year

National Debt

The national debt is on an unsustainable path

  • Debt Held by the Public at the end of November 2020: $21.3 trillion
  • Debt Held by the Public at the end of November 2019: $17.1 trillion

The sizeable deficit in FY20 pushed up debt held by the public by nearly 25 percent. Eventually, once the situation has stabilized, policymakers should turn their focus to the country’s underlying fiscal situation.

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National Debt Clock

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