WASHINGTON – The U.S. posted a record December budget surplus as higher payroll taxes, payments from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and a declining unemployment rate helped improve the government’s finances.
Revenue exceeded spending by $53.2 billion last month, compared with a $1.19 billion deficit in December 2012, the Treasury Department said today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 29 economists was for a $44 billion surplus, the same as the Congressional Budget Office’s prediction.
The 1.2 percentage-points drop in the nation’s jobless rate to 6.7 percent in 2013 was the steepest calendar-year decline since 1983. The strengthening economy and swelling tax revenue cut the country’s deficit as a share of gross domestic product by more than half to $680.3 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 from a record $1.42 trillion in 2009.
“We continue to see economic conditions improve, which is being reflected in the budget deficits continuing to narrow,” said Michael Brown, an economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, N.C.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell three basis points to 2.82 percent at 2:17 p.m. in New York, touching the lowest level in a month.
Today’s report showed revenue increased to $283.2 billion last month from $269.5 billion in December 2012. Spending totaled $230 billion compared with $270.7 billion a year earlier, it showed.
The deficit totaled $173.6 billion in the first three months of fiscal 2014, compared with a $293.3 billion shortfall from October through December 2012, according to the report.