The US Postal Service expects to end the current fiscal year with a volume decline of nine billion pieces and with at least a $2 billion loss.
Postmaster General John Potter disclosed the anticipated volume loss at a USPS Board of Governors meeting September 24, and attributed it to the uncertain economic climate.
“While we deal with the economic challenges, customers and service to our customers will always be No. 1 on our agenda; it is why we exist, it is our franchise,” said Potter in a written statement.
USPS Spokesperson David Partenheimer said the USPS had earlier predicted a financial loss of $2 billion this year, and that figure had not changed.
“The economy is causing us to cut more from our budget and reduce work hours,” Partenheimer said.
Part of the reason for reduced mail volume is that banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions are mailing less due to tighter lending restrictions and marketing cutbacks, he said.
“There are a lot of factors,” said Partenheimer. “Even when the economy does improve, mail volume may not return to previous levels.”
Also, as a result of the Postal Service’s financial situation, post offices nationwide were asked to institute a freeze on all organizational structure changes, including internal promotions and any new hires, according to a September 15 memo that was issued by Anthony J. Vegliante, chief human resources officer at USPS.
Partenheimer said the USPS plans to announce in February 2009 any possible postage price changes, which would then go into effect that May.
In addition, the USPS Board of Governors has also approved a preliminary Fiscal Year 2010 appropriation request totaling $144.6 million. This annual request to Congress includes $115.6 million in reimbursement for free services that the USPS is required to provide.