BIGGER DEFICITS: The U.S. federal government's budget deficit widened to $172 billion in November compared to $120 billion in October and 25 percent higher than the imbalance in the same month last year.
UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Last month's deficit was pushed higher by a calendar quirk that pulled about $33 billion in benefits payments into November from December.
THE OUTLOOK: The results suggest the nation is on a path to its fifth straight $1 trillion-plus deficit. The government finished the 2012 budget year with a deficit of $1.1 trillion. President Barack Obama and Congress are under pressure to curb the deficit as part of a budget deal to prevent tax increases and deep spending cuts from kicking in Jan. 1.