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Postal Service’s $15.9-Billion Loss Highlights Urgent Need for Legislative Reform

November 15, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC—Nov. 15, 2012—The U.S. Postal Service ended the 2012 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2011 – Sept. 30, 2012) with a record net loss of $15.9 billion, compared to a net loss of $5.1 billion for the same period last year. The loss included expenses of $11.1 billion related to two payments to prefund retiree health benefits.

Resolving the prefunding requirement, which made up 70 percent of the net loss, and providing more commercial flexibility to allow the Postal Service to manage its business, are among legislative changes needed for USPS to fully implement its business plan to return to financial stability.

“It’s critical that Congress do its part and pass comprehensive legislation before they adjourn this year to move the Postal Service further down the path toward financial health,” said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe. “We continue to do our part to grow revenue and reduce expenses by making our operations more efficient and by providing our customers with new and expanded services to meet their mailing and shipping needs. Additionally, through the expanded use of technology, including better use of digital tools and mobile technology, we are providing business mailers with new opportunities to connect with customers in a more individualized way.”

Besides resolving the accelerated schedule to prefund retiree health benefits and allowing the Postal Service the flexibility to sponsor its own healthcare program for employees and retirees, the USPS Business Plan includes these other actions that require legislative action:
  • Allowing the Postal Service to determine delivery frequency
  • Allowing the Postal Service to offer non-postal products and services
  • Developing a more streamlined governance model for the Postal Service that would allow for quicker pricing and product decisions
  • Instructing arbitrators that, during labor negotiations, they must take into account the financial condition of the Postal Service when rendering decisions
  • Resolving the overfunding of the Postal Service’s obligation to the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS).

Results of Operations
The Postal Service continues to grow its package services business. Revenue from that business increased by $926 million, or 8.7 percent, on a volume increase of 244 million pieces compared to the same period last year. Higher consumer spending, higher e-commerce retail sales plus increased marketing efforts drove much of the growth in this segment of the Postal Service business during the last year.

The encouraging growth trend in the package business is not, by itself, enough to offset the declines in First-Class Mail and Standard Mail. First-Class Mail revenue, which peaked in 2007, dropped $1.163 billion, or 3.9 percent, this fiscal year, while Standard Mail decreased $747 million, or 4.3 percent, compared to last year. However, the rate of decline in the First-Class category did slow in 2012.
 

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