News / USA

US Trade & Budget Deficits Get Worse

Thursday's report from the Treasury department says the U.S. government's budget deficit soared by more than $222 billion in February, the biggest one-month increase in history.

The deficit for the year is expected to hit a record of $1.5 trillion.  The deficit follows the worst recession in decades which cut government tax revenue and prompted officials to spend huge sums to stimulate the economy.  

A separate report from the Commerce Department shows the trade deficit grew wider in January, as surging oil prices drove up the cost of imports.

The gap between what Americans export and what they buy from foreign sources jumped more than 15 percent to hit $46 billion.

The trade deficit widened in spite of U.S. exports hitting a record high as the weak dollar made U.S.-made products less expensive for foreigners, and growth speeded up in key markets in Asia and Latin America.

A different government report showed the number of people signing up for unemployment compensation in the United States rose by 26,000 last week to hit a total of 397,000.  The modest increase comes after the number of layoffs was near a three-year low in recent weeks.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, Bloomberg and Reuters.

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