WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government started its new budget year with a deficit in October, although the imbalance was made worse by a calendar quirk.
The Treasury Department says the October deficit totaled $136.5 billion, up 12.2 percent from October 2014.
In both years, Nov. 1 fell on a weekend, which required the government to mail out November benefit checks in October. That shifted $49 billion in payments into October, up from last year's $41 billion payment shift.
The government's budget year begins on Oct. 1.
For the 2015 budget year that ended Sept. 30, the annual deficit fell to $438.9 billion, its lowest level in eight years, spurred by gains in tax revenue that outpaced greater government spending.
The Congressional Budget Office expects the 2016 deficit to drop to $414 billion.