Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

The United States Department of the Treasury is seen in Washington, D.C., Aug. 30, 2020.

ANDREW KELLY/Reuters

The U.S. government’s deficit for the first nine months of this budget year hit $2.24 trillion, keeping the country on track for its second biggest shortfall in history.

In its monthly budget report, the Treasury Department said Tuesday that the deficit for the budget year that ends in September is running 9.1% below last year’s pace.

The deficit for the full 2020 fiscal year was a record $3.1 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that this year’s deficit will total a slightly smaller $3 trillion. The deficits in both years were bloated by the multitrillion-dollar spending packages the government has passed to combat the economic downturns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Story continues below advertisement

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the previous deficit record was $1.4 trillion, set in 2009 when the government was seeking to offset a steep economic downturn triggered by the 2008 financial crisis.

So far this fiscal year, government receipts have totalled $3.06 trillion, up 35.2% from the same period a year ago. The number for last year was pushed downward by the fact that various tax deadlines were delayed, so revenue collections were lower because payments came in after June.

Spending in the October-June period totalled $5.29 trillion, up 5.8% from the same period last year.

For the month of June, the deficit totalled $174.2 billion, 79.8% lower than the June 2020 deficit of $864.1 billion, which was record high for any month.

The huge June 2020 deficit included $511 billion spent by the Small Business Administration, primarily for its Paycheck Protection Program of forgivable loans made to small businesses. By contrast, that spending category totalled just $31 billion in June of this year.

After the slight drop in the deficit this fiscal year, the CBO is projecting a further improvement to a $1.15 trillion shortfall next year.

However, those forecasts do not take into account the multitrillion-dollar infrastructure spending measures President Joe Biden is pushing to get Congress to approve. In his own budget, Biden is projecting the deficit will hit $3.7 trillion this year and will never dip below $1 trillion over the next decade.

Story continues below advertisement

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies