Postal Updates

USPS posts $6.5 billion loss in 2023, expects loss in 2024

Nov 30, 2023, 8 AM

By Allen Abel

The United States Postal Service suffered a loss of $6.5 billion for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 after once forecasting that it would break even by the third year of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year Delivering for America plan to bring the USPS to solvency. The plan was announced in March 2021.

“This does not mean that the plan is doomed to failure,” Anton Hajjar, vice chairman of the Postal Service’s board of governors, said Nov. 14, even as the USPS revealed an equally grim prognosis for 2024.

To explain the 2023 shortfall, postal officials blamed inflation, the preference of many businesses to advertise digitally rather than on paper, and a miscalculation of the costs that the USPS must cover under the Civil Service Retirement System.

The board of governors was no more optimistic about the next 12 months, projecting a loss of $6.3 billion in fiscal 2024 (Oct. 1, 2023, to Sept. 30, 2024), even as inflation cools.

“The path to salvation principally involves package delivery,” Hajjar declared at USPS headquarters in Washington, D.C., likening the Postal Service’s manifold woes to the title of the 2022 Academy Award-winning film Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Hajjar said the USPS “cannot become a government-owned package delivery service.”

For fiscal 2023, in the shipping and packages category, the Postal Service reported that revenue increased $324 million, or 1 percent, on a volume decline of 175 million mailpieces, or 2.4 percent, compared to fiscal 2022.

First-class mail volume declined 6.1 percent in fiscal 2023 to 46 million pieces, the lowest since 1968 and less than half of first-class mail traffic as recently as 2006.

Marketing mail revenue decreased $920 million, or 5.8 percent, on a volume decline of 7.7 billion pieces, or 11.4 percent, compared to the same period last year.

“Despite substantial reductions in our cost of operations and growth in our package revenues, we will not reach break-even results in 2024 either,” the postmaster general said.

“While we are not happy with this result, we cannot lose sight of the downward trajectory the Postal Service faced in the fall of 2020 after years of neglect and willful indifference,” DeJoy continued.

“Executing on all the initiatives of the plan is in stark contrast to doing nothing. The remarkable and unfortunate fact was that there was no other plan in sight,” DeJoy said.

The board of governors elected Roman Martinez IV to continue to serve as its chairman. Amber McReynolds, an expert on voting by mail, was elected vice chairman.

One ray of sunshine illuminated the governors’ quarterly meeting: Despite enduring everything everywhere all at once, the Postal Service remains the best-loved agency in the country, according to a Gallup poll conducted in mid-October.

Of the 16 departments included in the survey, the USPS finished on top, with a 62 percent approval rating, followed by the U.S. Secret Service, the Department of Defense and NASA. In the cellar, scoring the approval of only 30 percent of respondents, was the IRS.

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