The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 30, 2013

U.S. deficit sinks to lowest level in 5 years

Payrolls have grown by 1.6 million workers this year so far

The U.S. posted its smallest budget deficit in five years as employment gains helped propel revenue to a record.

Spending exceeded receipts by $680.3 billion in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, the narrowest gap since 2008, compared with a $1.09 trillion shortfall in fiscal 2012, the Treasury Department said today in Washington.

In September, the U.S. recorded a $75.1 billion surplus, little changed from the surplus in the same month a year earlier.

Stronger hiring has helped reduce the country’s deficit as a share of gross domestic product by more than half in the past four years, narrowing it from a record $1.42 trillion in 2009. Bolstering revenue this year were higher payroll taxes Congress allowed in January, while spending growth has been limited by across-the-board cuts known as sequestration that lawmakers failed to prevent in March.

“We’ve made a lot of fiscal progress in the U.S. because of the sequester cuts, tax rates going back to historic norms and the economy improving,” said Bricklin Dwyer, an economist at BNP Paribas in New York. “Politicians have, thus far, avoided the most difficult choices -- addressing unsustainable spending on entitlements such as Medicare and Medicaid.”

Revenue jumped 15.2 percent to $301.4 billion in September from a year earlier, bringing the annual figure to $2.77 trillion, today’s report showed. Spending increased 21.5 percent to $226.4 billion last month, contributing to a 12-month total of $3.45 trillion, it showed.

‘Fiscal Responsibility’

The unemployment rate fell to an almost five-year low of 7.2 percent in September, the Labor Department reported last week. Payrolls have grown by 1.6 million workers so far this year.

“Our deficits are getting smaller,” President Barack Obama told high school students in Brooklyn, New York, on Oct. 25, as he campaigned for his budget goals. “We don’t have to choose between growth and fiscal responsibility; we’ve got to do both.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Minneapolis to NYC flight diverted to Milwaukee MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Delta Air Lines flight from Minneapolis to New York City has landed safely in Milwaukee after it was diverted. Delta spokeswoman Kate Modolo says the crew chose to divert the flight Saturday morning out of an abundance of caution a

    July 26, 2014

  • Hamas rejects 4-hour Gaza war truce extension BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip (AP) — A Hamas official says the group has rejected a four-hour extension of a humanitarian truce proposed by Israel. Sami Abu Zuhri sent a text message to reporters Saturday, saying: "No agreement to extending the calm for an

    July 26, 2014

  • Arizona execution renews debate over methods SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A third execution by lethal injection has gone awry in six months, renewing debate over whether there is a foolproof way for the government to humanely kill condemned criminals, and whether it's even worth looking for one. Death

    July 26, 2014

  • Lake Huron fishery recovers, but anglers skeptical TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — More than a decade after its prized chinook salmon crashed, Lake Huron is fertile fishing territory once more, with fast-growing populations of native species such as walleye and lake trout, biologists say. Now the challen

    July 26, 2014

  • Minnesota prosecutor convicted of sex misconduct DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — A jury on Friday convicted a northern Minnesota county attorney of sexual misconduct involving a 17-year-old girl after the prosecution argued the man was in a position of authority over the teenager. The jury found Cook County

    July 26, 2014

  • Some in 'torture' report denied chance to read it ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — About a dozen former CIA officials named in a classified Senate report on decade-old agency interrogation practices were notified in recent days that they would be able to review parts of the document in a secure room in suburban

    July 26, 2014

  • Police hunt for 2 who carjacked SUV, killed 3 kids PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Police are searching for two men who carjacked an SUV and plowed into a group of children and adults selling fruit to raise money for their church, killing three siblings and critically injuring their mother and the carjacking vic

    July 26, 2014

  • 1 hurt in fiery Twin Cities interstate crash ROSEVILLE, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say one person was hurt in a fiery crash involving four vehicles on a Twin Cities interstate. The crash on Interstate 35 brought morning traffic to a halt during a rainy commute. The Minnesota State Patrol says a

    July 25, 2014

  • Black box found at Air Algerie wreckage site PARIS (AP) — French soldiers recovered a black box from the Air Algerie wreckage site in a desolate region of restive northern Mali on Friday, officials said. Terrorism hasn't been ruled out as a cause, although officials say the most likely reason f

    July 25, 2014

  • Ukraine reports overnight rebel attacks on border MOSCOW (AP) — The Ukrainian army on Friday claimed that soldiers came under artillery fire from the Russian side of the border overnight and were attacked by rebels in several other places in the restive east. Ukrainian forces are trying to close in

    July 25, 2014