USPS reports nearly $1 Billion lost for August 2008
Postmaster General Jack Potter, in his address at the NAPS convention last week, reported that the Postal Service will lose more than $2 billion by the approaching end of the USPS fiscal year. “We are struggling,” Potter said, pointing to declining mail volume and a weakening economy. “We’re in a dynamic situation, with greater losses in volume than we’d expected.”
Potter’s remarks to NAPS were similar to those he delivered in a Public Customer Council broadcast yesterday, warning of a “perfect economic storm” that threatens to deteriorate mail volume further. Citing fluctuating oil prices, inflation in paper prices and strife in financial markets, Potter described the impact of economic conditions upon USPS as the most difficult since the 1960s, along with the impact of email and questions about mail’s environmental impact that have led to a volume decline of 9 billion pieces this year.
“But the economy will bounce back,” Potter predicted optimistically, “and we have to be ready to adapt,” Potter added.
The Postal Service reported a net loss of approximately $960 million in August, according to recent reports filed with the Postal Regulatory commission. While year-to-date revenue is slightly above the same period last year, revenue for August was about ten percent below August 2007 in spite of a 2.9% increase implemented in May.
Pointing to a “vigorous debate” going on right now at USPS headquarters on 2009 mail volume projections, Potter said that those numbers will influence craft staffing levels, and in turn supervisory staffing. He noted the possibility of movement to 4-day/ten-hour shifts, but continued to insist that USPS will not offer financial incentives coupled with VERAs. “We have to be prudent. In 1992, we paid 46,000 employees a half-year’s salary to go, then ended up rehiring 70,000,” Potter maintained.
More details on the Postal Service’s financial situation and possible reorganization will likely be released during next week’s meeting of the USPS Board of Governors.