USPS Reports $2.1B Net Loss; Mail Continues to Drop, Shipping Gains

Once again, the U.S. Postal Service reported a massive net loss, a decline in mail volume and revenue and an increase in shipping volume and revenue for the second quarter of 2019.

The USPS’s net loss for the quarter was $2.1 billion, up $747 million from 2018. The so-called controllable net loss was $806 million, after backing out mandated and unfunded retiree benefits and worker’s compensation expense adjustments, up from $656 million in the year-ago quarter.

First-class mail revenue at the USPS was down $217 million or 3.3%, on a volume decline of 3.9%. Marketing mail, including flyers and advertising, saw revenue decrease 3.9% and volume dip 5.2% in Q2.

The USPS reported shipping and package revenue was up $253 million or 4.9%, but volume increased just 0.3%, so its yield per item is increasing.

“The Postal Service continues to pursue aggressive management actions and to seek legislative and regulatory reforms to address our overall cost structure and enhance revenue-generating opportunities,” said Postmaster General and CEO Megan Brennan in a release. “Our focus remains on meeting the expectations of the American public, continuing to invest in the future of the organization, and continually delivering innovations and increased value for both the senders and receivers of mail and packages.”

Last week, Brennan said the USPS would be broke by 2024, absent meaningful reform.

Solutions on the table to stabilize the USPS include privatization, suggested by some business groups; setting more market-based rates, proposed by President Trump’s postal task force; elimination of prefunded retiree healthcare benefits, the main contributor to massive losses; and Brennan’s other proposal to cut back mail delivery from six to five days and expand general parcel delivery from six to seven days. The latter is seen as a non-starter in Congress, and privatization is also an unlikely outcome.