U.S. Postal Service loses $5.1 billion
November 15th, 2011
02:56 PM ET

U.S. Postal Service loses $5.1 billion

The U.S. Postal Service reported an annual loss of $5.1 billion on Tuesday, as declining mail volumes and mounting benefit costs take their toll on the agency.

The Postal Service said in a statement that its losses would have been roughly $10.6 billion if Congress had not passed legislation postponing a $5.5 billion payment required to fund the agency's retiree health benefits.

Revenues from First-Class Mail, the Postal Service's largest and most profitable product, declined 6% from the previous fiscal year to $32 billion. Total mail volume declined by 3 billion pieces, or 1.7%.

"The continuing and inevitable electronic migration of First-Class Mail, which provides approximately 49 percent of our
revenue, underscores the need to streamline our infrastructure and make changes to our business model," Postal Service CFO Joe Corbett said in a statement accompanying the figures.

Over the past few months, the White House, lawmakers and the Postal Service have all come up with plans to save the post office. One of the more controversial proposals came from the postal agency itself, which included cutting Saturday service,

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soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. BOMBO

    @ Basement. The postal sevice NEVER loses mail. I'll bet your upstairs landlord got it.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. L33R0Y

    so lay people off, it is sad, but if you are trying to run it like a business what moronic CEO wouldn't...other then the one I work for

    November 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mirko6

    I recognize that the world is changing but people are still paying for these services. How do most Americans receive their bills? And what about marketers sending Catalogs, Ads, coupons, etc

    November 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • TwM

      Those catalogs,ad etc are all bulk mail with little cost. Not sure if you are aware of it but you can go the postal website and have your name removed from that junk mailing. It is time to close the PO or allow it to become privatized. A stamp still costs 45 cents unless you are like me and bought forever stamps at 41 cents in bulk. To truely fix her self a letter should be costing over a $1.00.
      For those of you thinking it is the pension pre-payments causing this. Not really. Yes it hurts but the fact is technology has removed the prevalence of the PO. How many of us pay their bills on line? I pay every bill on line, and ask for estatements how many others do the same?

      November 15, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. guitarharry

    Time to give up. Nobody uses USPS to communicate anymore. The only mail that matters is sent by bill collectors, so why not just let UPS and FedEx do it? The bill collectors will just add the extra cost to each person's bill. If people don't like it, they can join the rest of us in the 21st Century and pay their bills online. "Snail Mail" is obsolete! The truth is letter carriers are simply over-paid, and get ridiculous benefits. That is another reason for this monumental loss of revenue. If something dies, you bury it, not keep resurrecting it at a cost to the general public.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • TwM

      Nail hit on the head !!!

      November 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Then suggest a clear alternative

    To mailing:
    Christmas cards

    November 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • JD

      I use FedEx and UPS. They work well and have much better package tracking.

      November 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johnny

      Hallmark cards are old-world. Send a virtual card or, better yet, make a phone call.
      Presents – try Amazon, WS, BBB, or any other retailer. Amost every retailer is online and not only will ship direct for you, but will gift wrap for a small fee.
      Rent – your landlord will figure it out. Many landlords have paypal accounts.

      November 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • an answer for everything

      automated banking
      Why would you waste money mailing (or shipping) a present?

      November 15, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. TJ

    Raise the price on all the junk / bulk mail I get.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • gloria

      I agree with you on that!!!

      November 15, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Eric

    "This story is developing. We'll bring you the latest information as soon as we get it."
    Really? I think it has been developing for the last ten or so years.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kookmyer

    This is why you shouldn't pay your bills online. Send it through the mail by check, so these people can keep their jobs.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • JD

      No... it's not my obligation to save the UPS. They need to evolve.

      November 15, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • TwM

      Let me explain why you should pay online.
      receipt of payment is immediate
      you can wait until the last moment and pay the bill, keeping your money earning longer before it is spent. Though right now that is fruitless with these ridculous rates.

      November 15, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MrRightWing

    But, but... what if I wanna mail something to U-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan?!

    November 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • JD

      Use UPS/FedEx/DHL

      November 15, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cathie L

    Well GOOD. My husband went in Saturday to mail two packages, 32 x 16 x 16 I mail that box at least twice a week during the week, and this was my first Saturday to do so. I didnt go, my husband did, and he didnt know what I always pay. The box is less than 108" (the length plus girth, which is l plus 2w plus 2h and the jerks charged us oversized. So instead of 28.00 it was 66.00 PER PACKAGE. I was FURIOUS when he got home and called. They were already closed and said the option was to not do it and the packages wouldnt be sent, or pay it. It was a business shipment that had to go out. They had gotten out their tape measurements and claimed the box was ONE INCH more than the box manufactturer stated on the bottom. We measured the remaining twenty we had at home- and you guessed it. WRONG. The box was not stuffed, not bulging, nada.


    November 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      That is exactly what happened to me!! The box dimensions were exactly the 108 inch length + girth that is the maximum for regular packages, but the Post office insisted it was more. Their reason: They don't actually add 2w + 2h + l. They enter the dimensions into their computer which rounds each measurement up before adding!! So my box's width and height were 15.25, which each got rounded to 16. I had even cut the box down a bit, but with those extra 3 inches it was over-size. I went to UPS and they were actually a little cheaper.

      November 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rad666

    Keep up Sat deliveries.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      Why? Are you home? Do you actually look for your mail?

      November 15, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • TwM

      This is absolutely the first thing to go.

      November 15, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Wes

    The main problem is that they have to ante up for their pension fund. Congress required them to pay their entire projected pensions for the next 75 years in a very short time. The lower mail volume is the least of their problems. This is 100% manufactured by congress.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • TwM

      Not quite.
      True the Congress created some of the duress. But fact is mail is shrinking. Technology has removed the letter. Technology has removed the bill paying via mail. The world has evolved and the Postal Service is antiquated.

      November 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JJinVenice

    How many billions was the USPS forced to pay early into their pension system in the last fiscal year? Those huge balloon payments are putting a severe strain on their financials. Can they be given relief on those early payments to help ease their finances?

    November 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Greg

    Another example of a government agency that was created in times when there wasn't other businesses that could do the job. Government waste big time, overpaid workers. For starters they could cut out mail delivery at least 2 days a week....... Fed Ex, UPS, R&L Carriers and other companies can do this job.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      And perhaps FedEx et al will hire a lot of laid off postal workers, since their volume of business will increase if the USPS goies out of business.

      November 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      You have to be kidding me! They don"t want to go and deliver every stop that the USPS does.

      November 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TwM

    Time to shut it down

    November 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
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