If you’re sending out the bills this week, make sure you put the appropriate amount of postage, since a 2-cent increase goes into effect today.
As had been announced previously this year, the U.S. Postal Service raised the rate for a first-class stamp to 44 cents. The rate increase is just one way that the Postal Service is hoping to address the recession and the continued use of e-mail and electronic transactions that take letters out of circulation, reducing the workload and amount of mail processed.
The Postal Service has operated at a loss for 10 of the last 11 quarters, ended the second quarter of 2009 with a net loss of $1.9 billion. In the second quarter, mail volume totaled 43.8 billion pieces, down 7.5 billion pieces, or 14.7 percent, compared to a year ago. Despite attempts to reduce costs and grow revenue, the Postal Service will likely face a cash shortfall of over $1.5 billion at the end of the fiscal year.
“The economic recession has been tough on the mailing industry, and we have seen an unprecedented decline in mail volumes and revenue that continued to accelerate during the second quarter,” said Postmaster General John Potter during a recent Board of Governors meeting. “We are aggressively realigning our costs to match the lower mail volumes, while also maintaining the high level of service and reliability our customers expect. We are also taking a number of steps to grow revenue.”
The Postal Service has recently developed incentive programs to increase mail volume, including advertising mail and Priority Mail. In addition USPS has proposed a summer sale for Standard Mail, which is currently under review by the Postal Regulatory Commission.