Pressure for USPS Funding Ramps Up as Budget Outlook Worsens

U.S. Postal Service stakeholders and employees are escalating their calls for financial assistance for the mailing agency as it reports new budget shortfalls amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

USPS lost $1.2 billion in April, according to preliminary financial data, compared to just $338 million in the same period in 2019. Factoring out fluctuations in interest on workers’ compensation costs, the gap was $470 million. Volume for regular, first class mail, the Postal Service’s most profitable offering, fell by 9% year-over-year, while marketing mail dropped by 45%.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at a virtual event hosted by The Hill last week USPS does not need immediate access to a $10 billion loan Congress authorized in response to the pandemic, citing an uptick in package business as Americans on stay-at-home restrictions boost their online ordering. He suggested the agency may not need the loan at all, though the numbers paint a different picture. While package volume jumped 35% in April compared to the previous year, it is a more labor-intensive, and therefore less profitable, product.

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