The Postal Service has proposed price increases for its services, amounting to an overall increase of 2.5% for its Mailing Services. The notice of changes was filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) and would take effect Jan. 27, 2019 if approved.
The proposed Mailing Services price changes include:
Letters (1 oz.)
Letters additional ounces
Letters (metered 1 oz.)
Outbound International Letters (1 oz.)
The proposed domestic Priority Mail Retail Flat Rate price changes are:
Small Flat Rate Box
Medium Flat Rate Box
Large Flat Rate Box
APO/FPO Large Flat Rate Box
Regular Flat Rate Envelope
Legal Flat Rate Envelope
Padded Flat Rate Envelope
While the proposed price hikes would raise Mailing Services product prices approximately 2.5%, the Shipping Services price increases vary by product. For example, Priority Mail Express will increase 3.9% and Priority Mail will increase 5.9%.
The one decrease included in this listing is for the single-piece additional ounce price which will be reduced to 15 cents from 21 cents. By way of example, the Postal Service said that a 2-ounce stamped letter, such as a typical wedding invitation, would cost less to mail, decreasing from 71 cents to 70 cents.
The Postal Service’s Mailing Services price increases are based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) whereas the Shipping Services prices are primarily adjusted according to market conditions.
The Governors of the Postal Service approved the price increases and believe these new rates will keep the Postal Service competitive while providing the agency with needed revenue. They still must be reviewed and approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission. If approved, they will take effect in late January.
Postal Service’s Financial Struggles
The rate increases really are not a surprise given the magnitude of the financial losses the agency has been reporting for over a decade now. A recent GAO report said that the Postal Service “faces a serious financial situation with insufficient revenues to cover expenses.” It noted the agency would face some tough choices in the near future as a result.
The White House has also issued warnings, and President Trump recently formed a task force to study options to put the Postal Service on a better financial path. Postal unions and employees fear that this might lead to privatization and have held rallies in cities around the country to express opposition to this possibility, warning that it could mean reduced benefits for employees and potentially limit service in some areas.