Deficit tops $2 trillion in first 8 months of fiscal year, Treasury says

The United States hit a record deficit of nearly $2.1 trillion for the first eight months of the fiscal year, according to monthly data released Thursday by the Treasury Department. The country also saw record spending of more than $4.6 trillion for the 2021 fiscal year, up 20% from the previous year.

The country also brought in a record amount of cash for the time period: more than $2.6 trillion for the fiscal year to date, up 29% from 2020. Last month alone, the United States brought in $464 billion, according to the data, $290 billion more than it did in May 2020, and spent a record $596 billion, up 4% from May 2020.

A senior Treasury official noted that the major jump in receipts can primarily be attributed to the delay in individual and corporate tax deadlines, which were deferred last year at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Some of the biggest increases in spending from a year ago, including within the Agriculture Department, Treasury and Small Business Administration, had to do with the administration of pandemic-related relief. The release of state and local aid as part of the American Rescue Plan last month played a primary role in the increase for the Treasury Department’s May spending, according to a senior Treasury official. 

There was also spending on unemployment benefits, stimulus payments and Paycheck Protection Program in the first eight months of the fiscal year, which also contributed to the deficit in the first eight months of the fiscal year.

The new data comes as the country seeks to shake off the economic effects of the the coronavirus pandemic, which drove consumer prices up 5% in the last year, according to new data from the Labor Department, thanks to increases in the price of used cars and trucks and in energy. Consumer spending rose 0.6% in May as the country reopens.

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