A flood of economic stimulus payments pushed the federal budget deficit to an all-time high of $165.9 billion in May.

The Treasury Department reported Wednesday that the May deficit was more than double the imbalance in May 2007. That reflects some $48 billion in payments as part of the government's $168 billion effort to give the economy a jump-start and keep the country from falling into recession.

For the first eight months of the budget year, the deficit totals $319.4 billion, slightly below the all-time record for this period of $346 billion, set in the 2004 budget year.