The Postal Service saw a boost in its financial performance for the third quarter over last year according to its latest earnings announcement.
Net loss for the quarter was $1.5 billion, an improvement of $651 million over the same time period last year in which it posted a $2.1 billion net loss. It’s also a slight improvement over 2016 Q3 in which it reported a net loss of $1.6 billion.
On the downside, first class mail revenues continued their decline, dropping 2.2% ($134 million), and total mail volume declined by a combined 397 million pieces (1.2%) compared to the same quarter last year.
On the upside, Marketing Mail revenue increased by $63 million (1.6%) and the shipping and packages revenue posted a $475 million increase (10.2%) when compared to last year.
Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett cautioned that the results “reflect ongoing trends” in the marketplace, noting that “The secular declines in mail are somewhat offset by package growth, and labor productivity continues to improve.” However, he added, “Absent changes to our business model, net losses are expected to continue.”
The Postal Service continues to blame Congress for its ongoing financial problems which now span over a decade. Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan said in a statement:
The root cause of our financial instability is a flawed business model that is imposed by law. We encourage the Congress to engage in a broad public policy discussion and pass postal reform legislation. We support legislation under consideration in the current Congress which would provide immediate flexibility to the organization, allow the Postal Service to invest in our future and continue to provide the prompt, reliable, efficient and universal service the public expects.
Postal Service Reforms Weighed
Both Congress and the White House have taken notice of the situation.
Bills have been introduced in the current Congress in both the House and the Senate. Both bills include significant reforms to the benefits of Postal retirees, such as automatic enrollment in Medicare.
The White House has warned that action is needed to avoid a potential taxpayer funded bailout of the Postal Service, and President Trump even ordered that an task force be formed to weigh options for reforming the Postal Service.
Others, however, do not want to see the Postal Service increase its prices when considering possible reforms.
A group known as The Package Coalition was recently formed as an advocate for the Postal Service whose goal “is to work proactively with policymakers and the public to highlight the importance of the postal package delivery services to American businesses and consumers.” It stated that it is firmly against any legislative or regulatory changes that would require the Postal Service to raise its package shipping prices.