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US Posts First Budget Surplus Since 2008

May 11, 2012

The United States has posted its first budget surplus in almost four years.

The Treasury Department said Thursday the country took in more money last month than it spent for the first time since September 2008, just before the global economic recession.

Americans pay their yearly taxes in April, so an increase in revenue is not unusual. The country is also expected to post another trillion-dollar deficit this year. But some economists believe the first surplus in nearly four years is a sign the U.S. economy may be coming back to life

The government also said Thursday that the U.S. trade gap widened in March with the country importing more goods than it exported.

It says the $52-billion increase in the trade deficit is a 14 percent jump over February.

Officials cite higher prices for imported oil and a greater demand for foreign-built computers, cars, televisions, cell phones and clothes. U.S. trade with China accounted for about 40 percent of the overall American shortfall.

In a separate report, the government said that the number of first-time claims for jobless benefits was slightly lower last week from the prior week. Analysts said the level of initial claims for unemployment compensation signal that the U.S. is poised for modest job growth.

The U.S. jobless rate dipped in April to 8.1 percent, but partly because some workers stopped looking for new jobs and were not counted in the monthly employment survey.

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