Postal Updates

Selected first-class rates could rise in January 2020

Aug 15, 2019, 4 PM

Washington Postal Scene by Bill McAllister

A major mail industry group is predicting that the United States Postal Service will soon propose increases of “a little over 2 percent” for some first-class mail, market mail and periodicals.

The price for a single first-class letter, however, is likely to remain at 55¢, the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers said in its July 30 newsletter, Alliance Report. Since this rate jumped 10 percent last year, from 50¢ to 55¢, some other first-class mail rates are likely to see higher prices next year, the association said.

The alliance said it expects the increases to be effective Jan. 26, 2020, as part of the annual rate adjustments the Postal Service is allowed to make.

Stephen Kearney, the executive director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, is a former USPS executive who filled a number of senior positions at postal headquarters, including rate setting and running the stamp program. His predictions are given great weight by mail industry officials.

In the July 30 newsletter, the alliance predicted that some mail segments deemed to be unprofitable to the USPS could see “higher than average” cost increases. That means, for example, that marketing mail flats “should get higher rate increases than letters,” the newsletter said.

The alliance said that the projected rates should be set after the Bureau of Labor Statistics issues a report Sept. 12 detailing how large an increase can be allowed under a law that generally caps stamp price increases at no more than the rate of inflation in the previous year.

The Postal Regulatory Commission has to approve the new rates before they can be implemented.

Postal officials had no immediate comment on the report from the alliance.

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