The White House predicted Friday that the federal government’s budget deficit for current fiscal year will hit $600 billion, an increase of $162 billion over last year’s and a final sour note on President Obama’s watch.
While the figure was expected, the increase represents a reversal from previous years, in which budget deficits had steadily declined from the massive $1.4 trillion annual deficit early in Mr. Obama’s first term during the recession.
In March, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projected a $534 billion deficit in fiscal 2016, which ends on Sept. 30.
Shaun Donovan, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said the new projection is actually $16 billion lower than the $616 billion deficit estimated by the administration in February. He said deficits are expected to remain below 3 percent of gross domestic product through the next decade.
“Even as the administration made critical investments to support economic growth, it also succeeded in putting the nation on a sound fiscal path,” Mr. Donovan said. “Since 2009, federal deficits have fallen by nearly three-quarters as a share of the economy — the most rapid sustained reduction since just after World War II.”
Under Mr. Obama, the total national debt has climbed to $19.3 trillion; it was about $10.6 trillion when he took office in January 2009.
Mr. Donovan credited the $821 billion recovery act of 2009, the Affordable Care Act and other measures for American businesses adding 14.8 million new jobs since February 2010 and lowering the unemployment rate by more than half.