The US reported a record $738 billion budget deficit in April. A huge rise in government spending and decline of revenues amid the coronavirus pandemic pushed it deep into the red.
The Treasury Department said the budget deficit in April reflected the magnitude of government spending that has been authorised to try to combat the economic impact of the crisis.
The previous record budget deficit for any month was $235 billion in February 2020.
Until recently, most of the country was under strict lockdown orders and many businesses were shuttered to try to contain the spread of the virus. There so far have been more than 80,000 Covid-19 deaths.
The fiscal year-to-date deficit surged to $1.48 trillion compared to a $531 billion deficit in the comparable period in 2019. This was way past the previous monthly deficit record of $870 billion in April 2011.
The US Congress approved a $2.3 trillion rescue package to deal with the crisis at the end of March. It has since added to it, taking total emergency relief spending to help cover individuals, families, businesses and state and local governments to around $3 trillion.
April is usually a month in which the Treasury posts a surplus because tax payments are due on April 15, but they have now been delayed this year until July 15.
The government has only reported an April deficit 15 times over the past 66 years.
At the same time, more than 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since March 21, which equates to roughly one in five jobs. That has also cratered the US government’s revenue base.