USPS finishes fiscal year with $5.1 billion net loss

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The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) closed the 2011 fiscal year with a $5.1 billion net loss, the government agency said on Nov. 15. Last fiscal year USPS posted an $8.5 billion net loss, the largest loss in its history.

The USPS would have posted a net loss of roughly $10.6 billion had Congress not postponed the agency's congressionally mandated $5.5 billion payment into its retiree health fund, USPS said in an earnings statement.

“The Postal Service can become profitable again if Congress passes comprehensive legislation to provide us with a more flexible business model so we can respond better to a changing marketplace,” said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe in an earnings statement. “To return to profitability we must reduce our annual costs by $20 billion by the end of 2015. We continue to take aggressive cost-cutting actions in areas under our control and urgently need Congress to do its part to get us the rest of the way there.”

USPS's operating revenue fell 2% year-over-year to $65.7 billion. Revenue from mailing services dropped by 3% to $56.7 billion. Mailing services includes first-class mail, standard mail, periodicals and package services. Revenue from shipping services, which includes express mail and priority mail, rose by 6% to $9.0 billion.

Total mail volume shrunk by 2% to 167.9 million pieces. USPS CFO Joe Corbett said in an earnings statement that mail volume has declined each year “since peaking at 213 billion pieces in 2006.” Accounting for 99% of total mail volume for the fiscal year, mailing services volume fell 2% to 166.5 million pieces.

First-class mail volume dropped 6% year-over-year to 73.5 billion pieces. Standard mail volume ticked up 3% to 84.7 billion pieces. Periodicals fell to 7.1 million pieces, a 3% drop from the prior year, USPS said.

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