The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Thursday estimated that the United States will record a trillion-dollar deficit for the fourth consecutive year.

The CBO estimated that the 2012 federal budget deficit will total about $1.1 trillion. The official numbers won’t be known until later this month. However, though this year’s deficit has hit the trillion-dollar mark, it is a significant improvement from 2011 -- about  $200 billion less.

President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy has been a central point of argument for Republicans this election year. Critics include 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has constantly berated the president for his spending habits, failure to balance the budget and high unemployment rate, which has averaged more than 8 percent since January 2009.

For 2012, CBO said net receipts from corporate income taxes increased $61 billion or by 34 percent. Individual income tax receipts also rose $37 million or by 3 percent.

By CBO’s estimates, the 2012 deficit was equal to 7 percent of gross domestic product -- down from 8.7 percent in 2011, 9 percent in 2010 and 10.1 percent in 2009.