For some in North Dakota, the mail does not come through

The rapid rise in the numbers of packages that mail carriers are tasked with processing and hauling, a rise stemming from the e-commerce boom in the past decade, now competes with the delivery of first class and bulk mail.

Labor shortages, spurred by retirements and heavy competition with other employers for workers, have undercut hiring campaigns for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), further straining the system.

Cost cutting measures implemented by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy since mid-2020 that prioritized packages, deprioritized first class mail, and reduced the use of air transport to transfer mail, have rippled across the country.

New delivery standards implemented last October have slowed 40% of first-class mail deliveries, the second time in the past decade that changes in standards have led to slower paces, according to Paul Steidler, a senior fellow at the Lexington Institute, a think tank based in Arlington, Virginia.

“Another thing is that the Postal Service is just delivering a lot more packages now than mail,” Steidler said. “Packages take a lot longer to deliver.”

Postal workers would have typically handled mostly mail in the past, he said. Delivering packages, often with older vehicles not designed for them, means drivers make more trips back and forth to the post office


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