New Postal Bills Percolating in Congress

On June 14, Reps. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) reintroduced H.R. 756 -- but under a new bill number, H.R. 6076. The reason for reintroducing the bill is that H.R. 756 carried the sponsorship of retired Rep. Jason Chaffetz. 

On June 13, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved S. 1204, the Post Office Discontinuance Accountability Act. The legislation, introduced by Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), seeks to protect small and rural post offices from indefinite “temporary emergency closures” by improving the transparency and accountability of the Postal Service’s temporary suspension process. 

USPS Posts FY 2018 Second Quarter Results

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service reported total revenue of $17.5 billion for the second quarter of 2018 (January 1, 2018 – March 31, 2018), an increase of $235 million, or 1.4 percent, compared to the same quarter last year. Shipping and Packages revenue grew by $445 million, or 9.5 percent, while First-Class and Marketing Mail revenue fell by a combined $181 million.

The Postal Service’s results for the quarter continued to reflect multi-year trends of growth in Shipping and Packages volume and declining letter volumes, as package volume grew by 69 million pieces, or 5.0 percent, while mail volumes declined by 700 million pieces, or 2.1 percent, compared to the same quarter last year.

Trump 2019 budget proposes numerous USPS changes

The Trump administration has formally declared the United States Postal Service a financial wreck, but its plan for ending the agency’s billion dollar deficits is certain to create controversy.

In its proposed budget for fiscal 2019, the administration endorses a plan that calls for a one-time special postage rate increase, an end to Saturday mail deliveries and a new rate-setting procedure — all to give the agency more money.

The plan released Feb. 12 includes a plea to the USPS to pay more attention to “the cost of personnel” and to “take appropriate actions to balance service levels with revenue.”

The Postal Service gets a new real estate provider

The Postal Service has ended its contract with CBRE as the agency’s exclusive real estate provider.  A few months ago, the Postal Service awarded a contract to a new broker, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

Los Angeles-based CBRE (aka CB Richard Ellis), the world’s largest commercial real estate firm, became the sole provider of real estate services for the Postal Service in 2011.  The contract, as indicated in the Notice of Award, was for four years, starting June 24, 2011, with two 2-year options to renew.  If both options had been exercised, the contract would have run to summer 2019. But in late 2016, a few months before the first option was set to expire, the Postal Service issued a solicitation for a new provider, and in the spring of 2017 it selected Chicago-based JLL.

USPS posts $12 million operating profit for second quarter

WASHINGTON — Although the U.S. Postal Service posted modest controllable income for the second quarter of fiscal year 2017 (January 1, 2017 – March 31, 2017) of $12 million, it fell well short of the $576 million that it had for the same quarter last year. This reduction was driven by the April 2016 expiration of the exigent surcharge, which would have generated approximately $500 million in additional revenue during the quarter had it remained in place, and to a lesser extent, a $69 million increase in controllable operating expenses.

Rural postal service remains essential

WASHINGTON – A top watchdog study completed at the request of U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, found that the Postal Service remains essential to rural communities, regardless of whether those communities have access to rural broadband services.

Postal Service releases financial report for May 2016: Shipping services continue to surge

The Postal Service posted its May 2016 financial report with the Postal Regulatory Commission today.

As usual, declines in First Class and Standard mail are more than offset by dramatic increases in the volume and revenue from package and shipping services.

And as usual, were it not for the obligated prepayments to the Retiree Healthcare Benefit Fund (RHBF), the Postal Service would be posting a profit — nearly $1.8 billion for the first eight months of the fiscal year.

Total operating revenues for May were up 0.3 percent over last May and up 3.3 percent compared to the same period last year, which covers the first eight months of the fiscal year.

Total volumes for May were down 1 percent from last May, and they’re down 0.4 percent compared to the same period last year.

Due to rising operating costs, the Postal Service posted a loss of $323 million for May in controllable operating income, which excludes the payments to the Retiree Healthcare Benefit Fund and a workers’ comp adjustment. With those two payments included, the Postal Service lost $628 million in May, as compared to $412 million last May.

For the year to date, the Postal Service has made a profit of $1.79 billion in controllable operating income, and a loss of $2.53 billion with the RHBF and workers comp payments included. That represents a slightly smaller net loss compared to last year’s $2.67 billion.

First class mail volumes in May were down 6 percent compared to last May, and revenues were down 8.1 percent. For year to date, things aren’t as bad. First class volumes are down 1.6 percent, and revenues are down 1.1 percent.

Standard mail volumes in May were up 2.7 percent compared to last May, and revenues were down 0.7 percent. For year to date, Standard mail volumes are down 0.2 percent, and revenues are up 0.4 percent.

Shipping & Package Services continue to make up for the losses in market dominant mail. For May, revenues were up 16.8 percent over last May, and for year to date, revenues are up 15.3 percent.

Compared to the same period last year, the number of career employees increased from 490,064 to 499,902 (a 2 percent increase), and noncareer employees increased from 130,634 to 136,275 (a 4.3 percent increase).  Workhours are up 2.9 percent for year to date as well.

The increase in the workforce and workhours no doubt reflect the extra work it takes to handle the increase in shipping and package services, and it explains much of the increase in labor costs, which, for year to date, are up about the same amount, 2.4 percent.

The May financial report is here.

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