According to Reuters, this is the first January budget surplus in five years.
Receipts were $272.2 billion while the spending was $269.3 billion. This is important to remember, because budget deficits and surpluses aren’t just about spending levels. Indeed, growth plays just as important a role.
Economists have been expecting the January report to benefit from the recent expiration of the payroll tax cut. However, this report nevertheless surpassed expectations.
Just last week, the Congressional Budget Office forecasted that the U.S. budget deficit would fall to $845 billion this year, which would be the first reading under $1 trillion in five years. Today’s surprise surplus should reinforce optimism that we’ll actually get there.
Here’s a look at some historical numbers from the Monthly Treasury Statement.