USPS finances

Employee carrying packages

The Postal Service has reported its financial results for fiscal 2017’s third quarter (April 1-June 30, 2017). Here are some highlights:

• Total revenue. The organization’s total third-quarter revenue was $16.7 billion. This is essentially unchanged from the same period last year, excluding the effect of a $1.1 billion non-cash change in accounting estimate recognized during 2016 due to revised data on consumer behavior and usage patterns of Forever stamps.

• First-Class Mail and Marketing Mail revenue. Revenue from First-Class Mail decreased $422 million compared to the same period last year, while revenue from Marketing Mail dropped $150 million. Both declines were due mostly to lower volumes.

• Shipping. The declines in First-Class Mail and Marketing Mail revenues were nearly offset by continued growth in the shipping and packages business. Third-quarter revenue from this part of the Postal Service’s business increased 11.3 percent from the same period last year.

• Operating expenses. The Postal Service’s third-quarter operating expenses were $18.8 billion, a 2.4 percent decrease from the same period last year.

Expenses for retiree health benefits and workers compensation declined by $869 million and $1 billion, respectively, but were partially offset by $1.2 billion in higher expenses for supplemental pension benefits, largely driven by changes in Office of Personnel Management actuarial assumptions and interest rates.

• Net loss. The third-quarter net loss was $2.1 billion, an increase in net loss of $573 million compared to the same period last year. A net loss occurs when an organization’s total expenses exceed its total revenue.

“The growth in our lower-margin package business is not sufficient to make up for the accelerating mail volume declines,” said PMG Megan J. Brennan. “Our financial situation is serious, but solvable. The continuation of aggressive management actions, and legislative and regulatory reform, will return us to financial stability and enable the Postal Service to maintain the long-term affordability of mail, invest in America’s mailing and shipping industry, and best serve the American public.”

For more information about the third-quarter financial results, read the Postal Service’s Aug. 10 news release.

Need to know

Fred Espenak is interviewed for a “CBS Sunday Morning”

Stamp in the news. CBS Sunday Morningis slated to air a segment on the upcoming total solar eclipse that will reference the Postal Service’s new Total Eclipse of the Sun stamp.

Eclipse expert Fred Espenak, who took the photograph featured on the stamp, was interviewed for the report.

The segment is tentatively scheduled to air Aug. 13. If it doesn’t air on that date, it will likely air the following Sunday.

Consult local listings for “CBS Sunday Morning” broadcast times.

The Aug. 21 total solar eclipse will mark the first one seen on U.S. mainland since 1918. USPS recently introduced a map that shows Post Offices in the eclipse’s path.

Lean forward. Detroit Acting Sr. Plant Manager Sherry Harper recently became the first USPS executive to obtain lean leader certification.

This certification is available to individuals with black belts, a designation for experts in the Lean Six Sigma continuous improvement process. Only 47 Postal Service employees are lean leader certified.

Harper received her certification after completing weeks of employee engagement, process improvement and industry best practices training.

The Continuous Improvement Blue page has more information.

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News quiz

Man peering into mailbox

Here’s Link’s latest “News quiz,” a weekly feature that invites readers to test their knowledge of recent stories. The correct answers appear at the end.

1. Willowick, OH, Letter Carrier Steven Farkas recently saved two homes threatened by what?

a) Fire
b) Gas leak
c) Hurricane
d) Robbery

2. Recent USPS career conferences featured which activities?

a) Networking opportunities
b) Panel discussions
c) Workshops
d) All of the above

3. Fill in the blank: A new Postal Service study reports households received (blank) packages last year.

a) 3.8 billion
b) 4.7 billion
c) 5.1 billion
d) 7 billion
4. Among the 50 states, which Post Office is the most eastern geographically?

a) Christiansted, VI
b) Hagatna, GU
c) Lubec, ME
d) None of the above
5. Where will USPS dedicate the Father Theodore Hesburgh stamp?

a) Catholic University of America
b) College of the Holy Cross
c) Georgetown University
d) University of Notre Dame

Answers: 1) b. 2) d. 3) b. 4) c. 5) d.

Look for a new quiz next week and share your feedback with Link at