The US federal budget deficit tripled to about $1.4 trillion for fiscal year 2009 in the midst of the worst economic decline since the Great Depression, the office that keeps track of spending for Congress said on Wednesday.
The figure represented about 9.9 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), the highest percentage since 1945, the Congressional Budget Office said in a statement.
In 2008, the deficit was only 3.2 per cent of GDP.
The nearly two-year-old recession has drained tax revenues as businesses fail and unemployment soared to 9.8 per cent in September. At the same time, Washington has been spending a lot of money to stem the economic ebb, including more than $700 billion approved by Congress after US President Barack Obama, a centre-left Democrat, took office in January.
Revenues fell by almost $420 billion in 2009, or 17 per cent, the CBO said.
The US government fiscal year ended on the last day of September.