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USPS Seeks COVID Stimulus Relief as Mail Volume Sees Steep Decline

USPS Seeks COVID Stimulus Relief as Mail Volume Sees Steep Decline

The USPS reported a sudden drop in mail volume as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and it may never fully recover, it explained as it sought help from Congress and the administration.

Postmaster General Megan Brennan also said Friday the US Postal Service estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic will increase the Postal Service’s net operating loss by more than $22 billion over the next 18 months, and by over $54 billion over the longer term, threatening its ability to operate.

Brennan issued the following statement April 10 in response to discussions about including funding for the Postal Service in possible federal coronavirus economic stimulus legislation:

“The men and women of the United States Postal Service provide an essential public service and bind the nation together as a part of the country’s critical infrastructure. At least six days per week, and in some instances seven, Postal Service employees accept, process, transport, and deliver vital mail and packages like medicine, products that sustain us, benefits checks, and important information, in every community, to every home and residence, and we will continue to do so. As Americans are urged to stay home, the importance of the mail will only grow as people, including those in rural areas and senior citizens, will need access to vital communications, essential packages and other necessities.

“We are at a critical juncture in the life of the Postal Service. At a time when America needs the Postal Service more than ever, the reason we are so needed is having a devastating effect on our business. The Postal Service relies on the sale of postal products and services to fund our operations, and these sales are plummeting as a result of the pandemic. The sudden drop in mail volumes, our most profitable revenue stream, is steep and may never fully recover. We now estimate that the COVID-19 pandemic will increase the Postal Service’s net operating loss by more than $22 billion dollars over the next eighteen months, and by over $54 billion dollars over the longer term, threatening our ability to operate.

“As Congress and the Administration take steps to support businesses and industries around the country, it is imperative that they also take action to shore up the finances of the Postal Service, and enable us to continue to fulfill our indispensable role during the pandemic, and to play an effective role in the nation’s economic recovery.

“We are grateful for the heroism and commitment of our 630,000 postal employees who continue to serve the American public during this pandemic, and we look forward to working with policymakers on ensuring the solvency of the Postal Service.”

In the meantime, online sellers were overwhelmingly satisfied with shipping carriers and services, according to an EcommerceBytes survey – see, “Sellers Sing Praises of USPS, Carriers, during Pandemic” on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

SOURCE: USPS.com statement

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

10 thoughts on “USPS Seeks COVID Stimulus Relief as Mail Volume Sees Steep Decline”

  1. First class mail has gone the way of the landline. Time to get rid of the post office and let UPS OR FEDEX deliver the mail. We get nothing here but junk mail and circulars. Its been months since we have gotten first class mail. Like most households with normal thinking people we have all our bills pay automatically when they are do. No need to mail anything to us as we can view the payment online. In 10 years there won’t be any first class mail to deliver.

    1. You are on e-commerce bytes and you are not a seller? if you are a seller you are telling us you get no mail from usps? What a griper.

  2. Sellers of small lightweight items like postage stamps for collectors would be severely impacted if the First Class Package rate continues to increase on its current trajectory. Sellers of sell low-cost items priced below twenty or thirty dollars would have no recourse if the minimum cost of shipping were to suddenly rise to five or ten dollars instead of 55 or 70 cents. If Amazon continues converting delivery to their own internal network, mailing and shipping rates for everyone else could rise to the equivalent of 18th century rates that existed before the United States Post Office was founded in 1775. delivery of mail and packages to rural and some suburban areas could cease leaving on-line buyers from sellers other than Amazon in the lurch. Would ending the US Postal Service in the name of retaliating against Amazon backfire? The president is wrong if he believes that postal service deficits are caused by Amazon and a few other large retailers.

    1. You are right. I have been selling online for five years. I have used Fed ex two times. Without the u.s. post office i am in deep trouble. Limited to home and my post man is great. Things fly in and out of here every day.

  3. @Whoreallycares: you may not make online purchases and receive only unsolicited junk mail via 1st class mail but millions of sellers and buyers actually rely on 1st Class Mail as part of their business model and would not be in business without it. President Ratings is convinced that the answer to USPS deficits is a huge increase in prices because something, something, Amazon. If he had to rely on USPS as a sole means of sustaining his money washing business methinks he would be singing a whole different tune.

  4. I have a friend who is a carrier. He has been working 12 hour days and has to work on his scheduled days off.

    There is lots of mail, his take is all the problems are mismanagement.

  5. I ship ALOT of 2 lb. packages, which means Priority Mail.
    Without USPS, I’m looking at Fedex, which is almost TWICE the price.
    I’d be outta business, as well as everyone else in my boat.

  6. I was just printing up postage for three IRS packages yesterday — to Texas, Missouri and Pennsylvania. The first two weighed 4 oz and the last weighed 2 oz. The 2 oz envelope going to PA cost the most (at nearly $3) because of the zone-based pricing.

    Firstly, it weighed HALF the other two, yet costs $0.20 more than the Texas package and $0.10 more than the MO package. Secondly, it’s a friggin envelope of a few papers and it costs almost $3 to ship anywhere? I can ship my CDs in bubble envelopes for $3.50 or less.

    Now, I’m not blaming the USPS for its prices. I’m blaming Congress.

    1. Sorry, my point was that some serious changes need to be made to fix the USPS and it’s not something Congress is interested in doing. So, we’ll see how generous they are in assisting the USPS.

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