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Postal Service profits, volume continue to drop

By Ed O'Keefe

Here we go again: The U.S. Postal Service lost $1.9 billion in the six months that ended March 31, it said Thursday. Mail volume also dropped 6.3 percent vs. the same period in 2009.

Postal Service
(Photo by Mark Gail/Post)

Not even a one-time boost of $180 million in first-class mail from the U.S. Census Bureau helped stopped the declines, as revenue dropped 1.4 percent compared with the previous year, officials said.

Operating losses totaled $1.8 billion in 2010, compared with $2.3 billion the year before. Work hours for the first half of fiscal 2010 were 49 million hours below 2009. The Postal Service now employs about 594,000 career workers, down 47,000 positions from 2009. Still, the mail agency is the nation's second-largest employer, behind Wal-Mart.

"We are still experiencing unsustainable losses,” Postal Service Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett said Thursday. “Quite simply, the business model is broken and laws, regulations and contracts must be changed to provide commercial operating flexibility needed for financial stability.”

Congress is considering Postmaster General John E. Potter's proposals to cut Saturday mail delivery, close post offices and raise postage rates beyond the rate of inflation, but it remains unclear how lawmakers plan to proceed. Potter also wants Congress to change a 2006 law that requires the Postal Service to pre-fund its retiree health benefits, a unique expense that costs about $5 billion annually.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 6, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Ed O'Keefe.

Is this the best you can do?

Posted by: GaryEMasters | May 6, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

How about we (America) get out of the mail business. Sell all of the post offices and to UPS etc. Take the cash and pay down the government debt with it. Let someone run the business that is really really good at it...not the Government! Times are a changing.

Posted by: RobMc1 | May 6, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

It just doesn't make sense why we can't slash many parts of the Post Office to start saving money

My goodness, it is NOT that important to be losing this much

Posted by: Bious | May 6, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Its not Government run,Rob, it is however government controlled. Maybe the Government should just give up any control it has on the postal Service. Let the service sink, or swim with the decisions that are made to operate it. If it sinks, then maybe it is time to sell it off, however if good sound business decisions are made to operate efficiently, we all would benefit from the success!

Posted by: buddysmith1015 | May 6, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: SISSD1 | May 7, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

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