If you pay your bills online, send e-cards, and maintain communication with friends and family through online social networks and e-mail, you may be unknowingly hurting the United States Postal Service (USPS).
These advances in communication and the growth of private delivery services have contributed to a decrease in mail volume and loss of revenues for the USPS.
On Aug. 5 the USPS announced $3.5 billion dollars of losses for the third fiscal quarter compared to a net loss of $2.4 billion during the same quarter last year. The USPS also reported a 4.2 percent increase in operating expenses from the third quarter of last year, attributed to higher workers compensation and higher retiree health benefits expenses.
“Our dedication to customer service remains a top priority,” Postmaster General John Potter said in USPS press release. “We continue to provide dependable customer service even as we focus on reducing costs,” said Potter, adding that the postal service is on track to make $3 billion in total cost reductions in 2010.
Mail delivery volume is down 20 percent since 2007, yet the postal service continues to deliver 203 billion pieces of mail a year. To stabilize its finances, Congress is currently holdings hearings on the viability of cutting delivery days from six days a week down to five. Last month, the USPS announced plans to increase the price of first-class mail from 44 cents to 46 cents. The current rate was put in place on May 11, 2009.
The USPS has incurred net losses in 14 of the last 16 fiscal quarters.
Competitors to the USPS for package deliveries include United Parcel Service, and FedEx Corp., which recently reported revenue and earnings growth.
According the U.S. Census Bureau, the USPS currently employs 765,000 people in 37,000 postal facilities throughout the United States. It remains one of the most affordable consumer mail delivery options.