October 2018 CBO Monthly Budget Review: Fiscal Year Deficit Increased To 3.8% Of GDP

from the Congressional Budget Office

In fiscal year 2018, which ended on September 30, the federal budget deficit totaled $779 billion—$113 billion more than the shortfall recorded in 2017. The deficit increased to 3.8 percent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018, up from 3.5 percent in 2017 and 3.2 percent in 2016. Outlays in 2018 were reduced by a shift in the timing of certain payments; those payments were instead made in fiscal year 2017 because October 1, 2017 (the first day of fiscal year 2018), fell on a weekend. If not for that shift, the deficit in 2018 would have been $823 billion, or 4.1 percent of GDP.

In 2018, the government's revenues amounted to $3.3 trillion—$14 billion (or less than 1 percent) more than in 2017. As a percentage of GDP, revenues fell from 17.2 percent in 2017 to 16.4 percent in 2018, dropping below the average (17.4 percent) for the past 50 years.

Net spending by the government was $4.1 trillion in 2018—$127 billion (or 3.2 percent) more than in 2017. Outlays amounted to 20.3 percent of GDP in 2018, compared with 20.7 percent in 2017, and were equal to the 50-year average. If not for the shift in the timing of certain payments, outlays in 2018 would have equaled 20.5 percent of GDP.

Total Receipts: Up by Less Than 1 Percent in Fiscal Year 2018

Total receipts in 2018 were similar to those in 2017 because of offsetting changes in different sources of revenues, which stemmed in part from provisions in last year's major tax legislation (Public Law 115-97):

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