Postal Service profits, volume continue to drop
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.
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.
| May 6, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories: Agencies and Departments
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