OTTAWA -- The Finance department says November's federal budget deficit was $1.9 billion, a slightly bigger shortfall than the $1.6 billion recorded in the same month of 2011.

However, after the first eight months of its current financial year, Ottawa's accumulated deficit is substantially lower at $12.4 billion -- about $3.1 billion less than the $15.5 billion recorded a year before.

That puts the federal government on pace the meet the government's $26-billion deficit target announced in the fall update.

Prime Minister Harper admitted recently the sharp downturn in economic growth during the second half of 2012 was having an impact on government revenues.

There was a sign of that in November when Ottawa's revenue fell by $56 million to $19.9 billion.

For the year so far, revenues are still up by about $4.8 billion, or 3.1 per cent, while program expenses are up about $3 billion, or two per cent.