As the economy continues to pitch and roll, it’s hard to keep track of all the indicators — lay-offs, new hires, stores closing while others are expanding, stocks up, stocks down.
But if you want to gauge the impact of the current recession is having on the U.S. Postal Service, just look in your mailbox. When big mailers like the banking, insurance and housing industries struggle — mail volume falls.
In 2008, volume fell nationally by 9.5 billion pieces. That’s 4.5 percent of the total volume compared to the year before. In dollars and cents, this decline equals a $2.8 billion net operating loss after USPS paid $5.6 billion to pre-fund retiree health benefits, as required under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006.
Since the early 70s, the Postal Service has been self-supporting, funded only by postal products and services, not with tax dollars.
Like other businesses, USPS has made — and is making — changes to its operations to match the decline in mail volume:
- Early retirement was offered to tens of thousands of eligible employees.
- Delivery routes are being reorganized.
- Post Office and processing plant operating hours are being adjusted.
- Blue collection boxes are being moved to areas that reflect customer demand.
- Mail processing operations are being consolidated
- All new Post Office construction is being postponed.
These logical business decisions will have an impact on employees; some of the changes will be challenging as people find themselves doing a different job, working different hours, or in a different facility. But they are necessary steps to prepare for the future.
But what isn’t changing is the commitment every employee has to service excellence and customer trust. In fact, the Ponemon Institute has named the U.S. Postal Service the “Most Trusted Government Agency” for the fifth year in a row.
The goal is, and always has been, to provide quality service at reasonable prices to more than 149 million American homes and businesses the Postal Service serves every day.