The federal government reported a rare surplus for January and is on track to run its smallest budget deficit since President Barack Obama took office.

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The Treasury Department says the government took in a surplus of $2.9 billion in January. That lowered the deficit through the first four months of the budget year to $290.4 billion -- nearly $60 billion lower than the same period a year ago.

The budget year began on Oct. 1.

The January figure was helped by an estimated $9 billion in extra revenue from higher Social Security taxes.

The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting that this year's deficit will total $845 billion. If correct, that would be first time government hasn't run an annual deficit in excess of $1 trillion since 2008.

 

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)