The Post Office Loses Another $1.7 Billion

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The U.S. Postal System (USPS) lost another $1.7 billion in its most recent quarter. That was on revenue of $18.6 billion, down a small fraction from last year. It is more evidence that its bloated operations cannot serve America without shrinking, unless the quarterly losses become permanent. (These companies have the worst reputations.)

First-Class Mail volume, the backbone of USPS operations, fell 678 million pieces, or almost 6%, from the same period a year ago. That dropped it to 10.6 billion. Revenue for the segment rose from $5.6 billion to $5.8 billion. Part of the reason was price increases for First-Class postage. It has hit $0.66, up from $0.63 recently and $0.50 in 2019. USPS cannot live on these increases forever. People will increasingly turn to alternatives like email.

The USPS employee count is bloated. It includes 517,000 career employees and 119,000 part-time employees. They work in over 31,000 post offices, some in small towns with populations of only several thousand. Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett said. “Continued rising costs in several areas of our business pose a challenge.” That is obvious.

Mail has already been replaced by email in many cases. And packages have been replaced by email file attachments. Nevertheless, USPS continues to argue it must deliver mail six days a week. People no longer walk to their mailboxes to get bills. In tens of millions of households, people get those bills and pay them online.

USPS does not need 31,000 offices. There is no need to service small towns and villages. The office count could be dropped by several thousand. And that means tens of thousands of people could be laid off.

Deliveries could be cut to three or even two days a week. That would allow cuts of thousands of more employees.

USPS does not need to lose $1 billion a quarter. To stop this, it only needs to control costs.

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