Federal government coffers have shown deficits for 17 straight months, but this one was a whopper. The U.S. budget deficit hit $220.9 billion in February, a one-month record, the Treasury Department says.
That was up — or down — from the previous record a year ago, almost $194 billion in February 2009, CNN reported. The last monthly surplus showed up in September 2008, a relatively puny $45.7 billion.
The February losses were actually lower than some economists predicted, according to the market analyst Briefing.com. As the government spends its way to a 2010 deficit likely to exceed $1.5 trillion, lingering effects of the recession and the mailing out of tax refunds likely contributed to the February red ink.
Even so, government receipts from taxes and other revenue sources were higher than a year ago, ringing in at $107.5 billion, one hopeful sign for the economy.