More Deficits, Despite Lower Unemployment

U.S. Budget Surplus/Deficit versus Unemployment Rate, 1969–2018

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 LabrackCode/Data