The budget deficit in the U.S narrowed more than economists projected in November from a year earlier, Treasury Department figures showed, as rising employment helped boost receipts and spending fell.
Outlays exceeded receipts by $56.8 billion last month, compared with a $135.2 billion shortfall a year earlier, the department said in a report released in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 21 economists was for a $64 billion deficit.
Stronger hiring has helped to shrink the country’s annual deficit from a record $1.42 trillion in 2009, and economists expect the decline to continue in the fiscal year that started Oct. 1. The Treasury in October said the shortfall in the 12 months ended Sept. 30 was $483 billion, or 2.8 percent of gross domestic product, and the Congressional Budget Office said in August that it expects the deficit to shrink to 2.6 percent of GDP this fiscal year.
“The trend is toward smaller and smaller deficits,” Paul Edelstein, U.S. economist and director of financial economics at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts, said before the report. “The improving economy is boosting tax revenues.”
Timing-related transactions affected the size of the deficit last month, including some benefit payments shifting into October, the Treasury said.
Revenue last month was $191.4 billion, 4.9 percent higher than a year earlier, while outlays dropped 21.9 percent to $248.3 billion, the report showed.
The deficit totaled $178.5 billion in the first two months of fiscal year 2015, compared with a $225.8 billion combined shortfall for October and November last year, according to the report.
A Labor Department report last week showed the economy added 321,000 jobs in November, marking 10 consecutive months in which the number has topped 200,000.