By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent
The United States Postal Service reported that its “controllable” operating income continued to grow in the second quarter, posting an income of $576 million for the quarter ending March 31 of the current fiscal year.
That figure is well ahead of the $313 million income the USPS listed for the second quarter of fiscal 2015.
For the first half of fiscal 2016, the USPS said its operating income rose to $1.8 billion, up from $1.4 billion in fiscal 2015.
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In a statement, Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan said: “While we have been successful in achieving controllable income in the quarter, we are still reporting net losses and contending with long-term financial challenges.”
The controllable operating income is a figure that the USPS uses to calculate its operating results by excluding costs beyond its control, such as congressionally imposed healthcare costs that a 2006 law says the USPS must prepay.
If those costs are included, the Postal Service said it would show a $2 billion loss for the quarter ended March 31, compared to a loss of $1.5 billion in the same period of last year.
The loss for the first half of fiscal 2016 totaled $1.7 billion, down from $2.2 billion in fiscal 2015.
The USPS also reported its revenues grew to $17.7 billion in the quarter, compared to $16.9 billion in the same period of 2015.
First-class mail showed a slight increase of 0.7 percent in the quarter.
The 4.7 percent revenue increase in the quarter was attributed to an 11.4 percent rise in shipping and package volumes.
The income figures are in line with what the National Association of Letter Carriers had predicted.
The union said the figures show that the USPS has continued to recover from the recession that caused mail volume to drop sharply and placed the USPS in default on its required payments to the federal government.