The final quarter of the government fiscal year runs from July 1st through September 30th and is known for being the most active time of year for federal spending. However, that increase in activity is actually condensed into one month, September. The chart below – which is sourced from USASpending.gov and depicts federal contract awards over the past ten fiscal years – illustrates the cyclical September spike. The annual increase in September contract awards ranges anywhere from 30% compared to the next highest month, and upwards of 70% compared to a fiscal year’s lowest spending month.
How is COVID-19 Impacting Fiscal Year-End Spending?
Federal spending has always spiked in the final month of the government fiscal year, however the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant uncertainty. It is too soon to know the full extent of COVID-19’s impact on federal fiscal year-end spending. Under normal circumstances, reports tend to trickle in long after the close of a month.
As of the current reporting, fiscal year 2020 awards in July and August are less than half of what they were in fiscal year 2019. Is this drop due to incomplete reporting or acquisition plans disrupted by the pandemic? While it’s likely a combination of both factors, we’ll know more in the coming months.
How has Federal Spending Shifted in Response to COVID-19?
The most notable change, as of the current reporting, is the absence of the Department of Defense from the number one spot. In a fiscal year where nearly everything revolves around the COVID-19 pandemic, DOD is not even in the top 20 in terms of federal contract awards. As of September 20, 2020, DOD had reported less than $8.5 million in contract awards for the fourth quarter. It is important to emphasize though, FY 2020 reporting is not complete and will likely change significantly as agencies report complete data.
Top Agency Comparison
Top Awarding Agencies: July-Sept 2019
Top Awarding Agencies: July-Sept 20, 2020
Top Sub Agency Comparison
Top Awarding Sub Agencies: July-Sept 2019
Top Awarding Sub Agencies: July-Sept 20, 2020
Top NAICS Code Comparison
Top NAICS Codes: July-Sept 2019
Top NAICS Codes: July-Sept 20, 2020
View COVID-19 Contract Awards To Date
As of September 22, 2020, federal agencies have awarded more than $27 billion in contracts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. View our breakdown of COVID-19 federal contract awards, to include awards by top:
- NAICS Codes
- Product Service Codes
- Place of Performance
- Business Size
- Large and Small Company Recipients