The U.S. Treasury Department announced Wednesday that the government has for the first time in five years run a budget deficit below $1 trillion.
The deficit for the 2013 budget year totaled $680.3 billion, down from $1.09 trillion in 2012, Treasury said. That’s the smallest imbalance since 2008, when the government ran a $458.6 billion deficit.
The deficit is the difference between tax revenue and spending. This deficit for the budget year that ends on Sept. 30 narrowed because spending decreased while tax revenues increased.
“Under President Obama, the nation’s deficit has fallen for the past four years, the fastest pace of decline over a sustained period since World War II. It is now less than half of what it was when the President took office,” Treasury Secretary Lew said in a statement.
“Congress must build on this progress by crafting a pro-jobs and pro-growth budget agreement that strengthens the economy while maintaining fiscal discipline.”
Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell added in a statement: “We must remain focused on measures that will support the middle class, strengthen the economic recovery, promote the nation’s long-term competitiveness, strengthen national security, and protect the least fortunate among us.”
“The President’s Budget showed how we can do this while at the same time improving our long-term fiscal outlook,” Burwell said.
Revenue jumped 13.3 percent to $2.77 trillion, reflecting higher tax rates. And government spending declined 2.4 percent to $3.45 trillion, in part because of the automatic spending cuts that kicked in March 1 (also known as “sequester”).
The budget surplus in September was roughly $75.1 billion, well above estimates of $69 billion.
Here’s the full statement:
Here’s a breakdown of the numbers:
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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