The budget surplus for December narrowed more than economists forecast from a year earlier on a surge in spending as calendar quirks affected government payment dates, Treasury Department figures showed.
Revenue exceeded spending by $1.87 billion last month, compared with a $53.2 billion surplus a year earlier, the department said in a report released today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 27 economists was for a $3 billion surplus.
Some January payments were booked last month, and the 2013 figures benefited from a shift in payments to November that didn’t occur in the most recent period, the Treasury said. Still, the U.S. deficit has been shrinking in recent years as the economy strengthens, hiring picks up and company profits improve.
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