Does the Postal Service Need 34,223 Offices?

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has 230,000 trucks, 516,636 career employees, 136,531 noncareer workers and 34,223 retail offices. And it loses money, which included $459 million in the most recent quarter. To become profitable again, the USPS will need to raise stamp prices considerably, or cut workers and, just as important, offices.

The USPS faces several challenges from outsiders. Among the issues is why it has to deliver mail six days a week. With the surge of the use of email, which often includes large documents, people can electronically get most of what the USPS had to deliver in the past.

The USPS has the problem that it cannot raise prices on its own. It must turn to the Postal Regulatory Commission, which often does not buy into suggestions by USPS management.

One part of USPS operations that is absurd is the fact that it has over 34,000 offices. Once again, much of the communication among Americans and the delivery of documents is done electronically. People do not need a physical post office as much as they did in the past.

The USPS also competes with UPS and FedEx, which have tens of thousands of physical locations of their own.

Each post office needs to be staffed, which means tens of thousands of people to operate these.

No one can reasonably make the argument that all post office locations should be shut down. On the other hand, the USPS has not made a powerful case about why the count is so large.

If the USPS wants to make money, it will need to cut costs. Physical locations are a logical place to start.

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