U.S. runs budget surplus in April, on track to narrow annual deficit

WASHINGTON Mon May 12, 2014 2:00pm EDT

WASHINGTON May 12 (Reuters) - The United States posted a $107 billion budget surplus in April, according to Treasury Department figures released on Monday, suggesting the federal government was on track to slash its annual deficit.

Washington usually runs a surplus in April because households have a deadline for settling tax bills that month.

Last month's surplus was slightly smaller than the $114 billion figure expected by analysts polled by Reuters.

Tax receipts have surged this year as the economy has improved. The Congressional Budget Office expects the deficit will shrink to $492 billion during the fiscal year, which began in October. In 2013, the government ran a $680 billion deficit.

So far this year, the government has run $306 billion into the red. That deficit is 37 percent smaller than it was in the same period of fiscal 2013.

Last month's receipts were $8 billion higher than they were in April of last year. Outlays were also higher, though they have been on a downward trend in part because an improved labor market has led fewer people to draw on jobless benefits.

The expiration of benefits for many long-term unemployed workers in January has also reduced outlays. (Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Paul Simao)