U.S. Budget Gap Tripled in Fiscal 2020 as Government Battled Pandemic

The annual deficit reached 15.2%, the largest since 1945. The U.S. Capitol building in Washington.



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alex edelman/Shutterstock

WASHINGTON—The U.S. budget deficit tripled in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, the Congressional Budget Office said Thursday, as the government battled a global pandemic that plunged the country into a recession.

The budget gap in the fiscal year 2020 widened to $3.1 trillion from $984 billion a year earlier, the nonpartisan CBO said. As a share of economic output, the annual deficit reached 15.2%, the largest since 1945, when the country was financing massive military operations to help end World War II.

A surge of federal spending to combat the coronavirus and cushion the U.S. economy, coupled with a drop-off in federal revenues amid widespread shutdowns and layoffs, contributed to the widening deficit this year.

Receipts totaled $3.4 trillion, a 1% decline from the previous year, with much of the drop

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