Friday, November 12, 2010

US Postal Service posts $8.5 billion loss; fourth straight year of losses; is it time to stick it to publishers again?

For the fourth straight year the U.S. Postal Service has posted net losses. This last fiscal year the net loss totalled $8.5 billion.

Blaming its losses on e-mail and competition from FedEx, UPS and other delivery services, the Postal Service said the economy has hit the agency particularly hard. In response the USPS has proposed cutting Saturday delivery service and hiking rates.

"We will continue our relentless efforts to innovate and improve efficiency. However, the need for changes to legislation, regulations and labor contracts has never been more obvious," Joe Corbett, the agency's chief financial officer, said in a statement. The agency has cut more than $9 billion in costs in the last two years Corbett reported.

Publishers are not in least sympathetic to the plight of the USPS, having had rates raised regularly. “They should be making the hard business decisions and not raising rates,” said Jerry Cerasale, a spokesman for the Affordable Mail Alliance early this summer. Smaller publishers have been particularly hurt by USPS policies, often at the expense of mass mailers.