Economic Report: Federal budget deficit falls to $14 billion in December

The U.S. Treasury Department reported a $14 billion federal budget deficit for December.

The numbers: The federal government ran a budget deficit of $14 billion in December, a drop of about $10 billion, or 42%, from the same month a year ago, the Treasury Department reported Wednesday.

Release of the December data was delayed by the government shutdown that ended on Jan. 25.

What happened: Revenue for the month fell 4% overall as corporate tax receipts were off by 18%, and individual withheld and payroll taxes dropped by 1%. Customs duties, meanwhile, doubled to $6 billion in the month, reflecting rising tariffs on imported goods.

Read: Yes, tariffs are ‘pouring’ into coffers, as Trump says, but not enough to cut deficits.

Spending dropped 7% in December, as outlays fell for Medicare, veterans’ programs and military programs. But interest payments on the public debt climbed by 16% over last December.

The Treasury said the December deficit would have been $45 billion if not for benefit payments and receipts being affected by calendar shifts.

The big picture: For the fiscal year through December, the deficit is up 42% to $319 billion.

The Congressional Budget Office projects a deficit of $897 billion for the full fiscal year, or 4.2% of gross domestic product. The CBO sees trillion-dollar deficits beginning in fiscal 2022.

The U.S. national debt, meanwhile, is rising rapidly. It topped a record $22 trillion this week, less than a year after it crossed the $21 trillion mark.

Read: U.S. national debt tops $22 trillion for the first time.

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