WASHINGTON — The federal government ran a $65.4 billion deficit in March while collecting savings from federal financial assistance programs, the Treasury Department announced yesterday.
Outlays totaled $218.7 billion and receipts totaled $153.4 billion. Receipts have increased on a year-over-year basis for two consecutive months, the first back-to-back gain since April 2008.
Economists had expected a $65 billion deficit for the month, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters. The government has run a deficit for a record 18 consecutive months.
In February, the deficit was $220.9 billion.
The Treasury had a $2.7 billion negative outlay in the Troubled Asset Relief Program for the month.
The Treasury spent $5.9 billion on the program in the fiscal year through March compared with $114.7 billion in fiscal 2010 through March last year.
The total fiscal year deficit through March was $717.0 billion, or about 9.9% of gross domestic product.
Through March in fiscal 2010, the deficit to GDP was 11%. President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget estimates a 10% deficit-to-GDP ratio.