Postal Service Loses ‘Just’ $5.1B Last Year

WASHINGTON, DC—The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) ended its 2011 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2010–Sept. 30, 2011) with a net loss of $5.1 billion. The year-end loss would have been approximately $10.6 billion had it not been for passage of legislation that postponed a congressionally mandated payment of $5.5 billion to pre-fund retiree health benefits.

Total 2011 mail volume declined by 3 billion pieces, or 1.7 percent, from 2010. The Postal Service’s largest and most profitable product, First-Class Mail, continued its year-over-year decline, from $34.2 billion in 2010 to $32.2 billion in 2011 (5.8 percent), which dwarfed continued growth in its more competitive products, packages and Standard Mail.

USPS Shipping Services revenue, which includes Priority Mail and Express Mail, increased $530 million in 2011 (6.3 percent). The increase in Shipping Services revenue was driven by strong growth in the Parcel Select and Parcel Return Services, due to increased mailings of packages, as customers continued to use the Internet more often to purchase products. Revenue from Standard Mail increased by $495 million (2.9 percent) on a volume increase of 2 billion pieces (2.6 percent).

“The Postal Service can become profitable again if Congress passes comprehensive legislation to provide us with a more flexible business model so we can respond better to a changing marketplace,” said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe. “To return to profitability we must reduce our annual costs by $20 billion by the end of 2015. We continue to take aggressive cost-cutting actions in areas under our control and urgently need Congress to do its part to get us the rest of the way there.”

The retiree health benefit pre-funding payment postponed by Congress and the president is now due by Nov. 18. The USPS says that unless additional legislation is enacted, it will be forced to default on this payment.

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