In fiscal year 2016, which ended on September 30, the federal budget deficit totaled $587 billion— $148 billion more than the shortfall recorded in 2015. Measured as a share of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), the deficit increased to 3.2 percent in 2016, up from 2.5 percent in 2015. About $41 billion of that increase resulted from a shift in the timing of some payments that the government ordinarily would have made in fiscal year 2017; those payments were made instead in fiscal year 2016 because October 1, 2016 (the first day of fiscal year 2017), fell on a weekend. If not for that shift, the deficit in 2016 would have been about $546 billion, or 3.0 percent of GDP—still considerably higher than the deficit recorded for 2015.
In 2016, the government’s revenues amounted to $3.3 trillion—$18 billion (or less than 1 percent) greater than receipts recorded in 2015. As a percentage of GDP, revenues fell from 18.1 percent in 2015 to 17.8 percent in 2016; but, for the third year in a row, they remained higher than the average (17.4 percent) over the past 50 years.
Net spending by the government was $3.9 trillion in 2016—$166 billion (or about 5 percent) more than outlays in 2015. Outlays amounted to 20.9 percent of GDP in 2016, compared with 20.6 percent in 2015. The percentage in 2016 was well below the recent peak of 24.4 percent in 2009 but above the 50-year average of 20.3 percent.