Postal Service’s $15.9-Billion Loss Highlights Urgent Need for Legislative ReformNovember 15, 2012
Other details of the yearly results compared to the same period last year include:
- Total mail volume of 159.9 billion pieces compared to 168.3 billion pieces a year ago
- Operating revenue of $65.2 billion compared to $65.7 billion in 2011
- Operating expenses of $81.0 billion (including the $11.1 billion expense associated with prefunding retiree health benefits) compared to $70.6 billion the year before
The $15.9 billion loss was driven by $13.4 billion in expenses that were outside the control of the Postal Service in the short-term. These expenses include the $11.1 billion retiree health benefits prefunding expenses and the expenses related to the long-term portion of workers’ compensation. When these expenses are deducted the net loss would have been $2.5 billion. The Postal Service has been successful in reducing controllable expenses as mail volume and revenues have declined.
“Our productivity grew to a record level as we captured cost savings and improved productivity for the 13th straight quarter,” said Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett.
This year’s improvement is largely attributable to the reduction in work hours, which decreased by 27 million, or 2.3 percent, in 2012 vs. the previous year. Total work hours continue to decrease despite increases in the number of delivery points, which rose by approximately 1.3 million over the last two years.
“These work hour reductions reflect our efforts to improve productivity and to respond to the decline in mail volume,” said Corbett. “Since 2000, we have reduced work hours by a cumulative total of 504 million work hours, equivalent to 286,000 employees, or $21 billion in expense savings each year.”
At the end of 2012 fiscal year the Postal Service reached its statutory debt ceiling of $15 billion for the first time.
“Our liquidity continues to be a major concern and underscores the need for passage of legislation that gives the Postal Service a more flexible business model to improve its cash flow,” noted Corbett. “Despite reaching the debt limit, the Postal Service mail operations and delivery continue as usual and employees and suppliers continue to be paid on-time.”
The Postal Service’s revenue over the first six weeks of fiscal 2013 is benefiting from the start of the holiday mailing season and political and election mail from the just completed general election season.
Complete financial results are available in the Form 10-K.
A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation—151 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. With 32,000 retail locations and the most frequently visited website in the federal government, usps.com, the Postal Service has annual revenue of more than $65 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world’s mail.