As Peak Mailing and Shipping Season Begins, U.S. Postal Service Performance Is Strong

  • A projected 12 billion-plus letters, cards and packages will be processed and delivered between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day
  • Service performance now above 91 percent for First-Class Mail and Marketing Mail; Periodicals show ongoing improvement
  • Driving the improvements is “Delivering for America,” Postal Service’s 10-year plan for achieving financial sustainability and service excellence
  • Key efforts include:
    • The installation of high-speed package processing equipment, including 102 of 112 new machines installed to date, boosting daily processing capacity to 4.5 million packages
    • The conversion of more than 63,000 employees into career positions and 40,000 seasonal hires
    • More than 50 new annexes across the country providing 7.5 million square feet of additional space to accommodate mail and packages

WASHINGTON, DC — As the busiest mailing and shipping season begins, the United States Postal Service   reported new service delivery performance metrics showing strong service performance for First-Class Mail (91.4 percent) and Marketing Mail (92.4 percent). Service performance for Periodicals continued to trend above 82 percent for the first seven weeks of the fiscal first quarter.

“We are ready and positioned to have a successful peak season,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. “Americans should feel confident sending their holiday cards, mail and packages with the Postal Service. There is a spirit of excitement throughout the organization and our entire team is ready to deliver the holidays for the nation.”

First quarter-to-date service performance scores covering the period Oct. 1 through Nov. 19 included:

  • First-Class Mail: 91.4 percent of First-Class Mail delivered on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 2.6 percentage points from the fourth quarter.
  • Marketing Mail: 92.4 percent of Marketing Mail delivered on time against the USPS service standard, consistent with performance from the fourth quarter.
  • Periodicals: 83.2 percent of Periodicals delivered on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of .5 percentage points from the fourth quarter.

One of the goals of Delivering for America, the Postal Service’s 10-year plan for achieving financial sustainability and service excellence, is to meet or exceed 95 percent on-time service performance for all mail and shipping products once all elements of the plan are implemented. Service performance is defined by the Postal Service as the time it takes to deliver a mailpiece or package from its acceptance into our system through its delivery, as measured against published service standards.

The Postal Service anticipates that between 850 million and 950 million packages will be delivered for the holidays. The total number of letters, cards and packages processed and delivered between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is estimated to be more than 12 billion.

The Postal Service’s preparations for the 2021 holiday peak season included: converting more than 63,000 pre-career employees into career positions in the past fiscal year, a national drive to hire delivery and plant personnel that should add an additional 40,000 seasonal hires by year-end;  the leasing of 13 million square feet of additional space across more than 100 annexes, including over 50 with multiyear leases to address year-round space constraints due to parcel growth; and the installation of new processing equipment to accommodate higher volumes reflecting customers’ delivery needs.

Since April, the Postal Service has installed 102 of 112 new package sorting machines, reflecting part of the $40 billion of planned investments under the 10-year Delivering for America plan. The installation of the remaining 10 machines is scheduled to be completed by the end of November. Additionally, more than 50 package systems capable of sorting large packages are expected to be deployed prior to December. Altogether, the new investments give the Postal Service the capacity to process an additional 4.5 million packages each day.

Recent machine installations have occurred in Wilmington (DE), West Valley (AZ), Gainesville (FL), Seattle (WA), Lyndhurst (NJ), Mid-Florida, Fort Worth (TX), Indianapolis (IN), Boston (MA), NW Arkansas, Austin (TX), Cleveland (OH) Des Moines (IA), Lancaster (PA), Oklahoma City (OK), San Antonio (TX), Minneapolis (MN), and Grand Rapids (MI).

The Postal Service generally receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.


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