In what should come as no surprise, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) lost $15.9 last year according to a Bloomberg report that came out yesterday. This is about $15 billion more than they anticipated to lose. So, I'm confused as to how they could be so far off on their accounting forecast of a loss. If this is indicative of USPS management (and I know from personal experience it is), then USPS has no hope of making it out of this decade as a viable agency. Labor costs, fuel costs, and mail volume are issues the USPS can't overcome. If Congress does not do something and do it quickly, the USPS will run out of money in October 2013, if not sooner. USPS has defaulted on payments for future retiree medical insurance twice this year. There is no way they can make up those payments without intervention by Congress. It cost the quasi-government agency $250 million dollars a day to simply operate. That means they have to sell a lot of stamps and money orders. Now, the USPS is important to the economy. People, businesses and the government itself needs to get its mail. But, USPS can't continue operating the way it is now. I still believe USPS will become an agency of part-time employees who deliver mail to concentrated mail boxes where everyone will have to come get their mail. I do believe the days of the rural carrier are basically over. But, even if USPS gets a bailout from Congress, that will not fix the overall problem; dwindling mail volume.
Mail volume has dropped by at least 5% from last year. Mail volume, as a whole, has dropped 43 billion pieces in the last six years. Volume continues to drop. There appears to be no end in sight for this problem. Personal mail is basically non-existent. Business mail has dropped 25%. New technology is like the bell that can't be unrung. New technology has hurt many businesses, including newspapers, magazines and, of course, the United States Postal Service. At one time, a career in the USPS was a stated goal of many people. But, these days, that is not a viable option any longer. USPS needs to reinvent itself. But, what that reinvention would be, I have no idea.