For the past 50 years, when unemployment rose, so did the deficit. And periods of falling unemployment saw low deficits or even surpluses.
Recent years have broken with this trend: the federal deficit is rising now even as unemployment remains very low.
This is a redo of a graphic from CBO's The Budget and Economic Outlook, 2019 to 2029.
Sources: Congressional Budget Office, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Budget surplus/deficit is expressed as percentage of GDP.
Casey Labrack • Code/Data