US posts $39 billion deficit for January as revenues fall, spending jumps

by Jacob Fuller

The U.S. government posted a $39 billion budget deficit for January after a rare $119 billion monthly surplus a year earlier, as revenues dipped and some one-time costs pushed outlays sharply higher, the Treasury Department said on Friday.

The report, which comes as Treasury employs extraordinary cash management measures to avoid breaching the federal debt limit, showed receipts at $447 billion last month, down $18 billion, or 4%, from January 2022.

Outlays in January were $486 billion, up $140 billion, or 4%, from a year earlier due in part to a $36 billion bailout of the Central States Pension Fund and a communications spectrum auction last year that had the effect of reducing outlays in January 2022.

For the first four months of the fiscal year, which started in October, U.S. receipts fell $44 billion, or 3%, to $1.473 trillion, while outlays grew $157 billion, or 9%, to $1.933 trillion, a record for the period.

Copyright 2023 Thomson/Reuters