WASHINGTON - The federal government started the new budget year with a higher deficit in October but the increase reflected quirks in the calendar rather than a deterioration in the government's budget outlook.
The Treasury Department says the deficit last month was $121.7 billion, up $31.1 billion from a year ago. However, that deterioration reflected the fact that the government had to send out $41 billion in November benefit payments in October because Nov. 1 fell on a Saturday.
October is the first month in the 2015 budget year.
The deficit for 2014 dropped to $483.3 billion, the smallest imbalance since 2008. The expectation is that the deficit will improve further this year. The Congressional Budget Office is projecting a $469 billion deficit for 2015.