New prices

Sheets of stamps being printed inside plant

The Postal Service has announced price changes to take effect next year.

The USPS governors approved the proposed changes, which will be reviewed by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) before they take effect Jan. 27. The governors believe these new rates will keep the Postal Service competitive while providing the agency with needed revenue.

The changes, if approved by the PRC, include a 5-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp from 50 cents to 55 cents.

The single-piece additional ounce price will be reduced to 15 cents, so a 2-ounce stamped letter, such as a typical wedding invitation, will cost less to mail, decreasing from 71 cents to 70 cents.

The changes include adjustments to other Mailing Services products, as well as Shipping Services products.

Here are the current and proposed prices:

  • First-Class Mail letters (1 ounce): 50 cents (current), 55 cents (proposed)
  • First-Class Mail letters (additional ounces): 21 cents (current), 15 cents (proposed)
  • First-Class Mail letters (metered 1 ounce): 47 cents (current), 50 cents (proposed)
  • First-Class Mail outbound international letters (1 ounce): $1.15 (no change from current price)
  • First-Class Mail domestic postcard stamps: 35 cents (no change from current price)
  • Priority Mail small flat-rate box: $7.20 (current), $7.90 (proposed)
  • Priority Mail medium flat-rate box: $13.65 (current), $14.35 (proposed)
  • Priority Mail large flat-rate box: $18.90 (current), $19.95 (proposed)
  • Priority Mail Army/Air Post Office and Fleet Post Office large flat-rate box: $17.40 (current), $18.45 (proposed)
  • Priority Mail regular flat-rate envelope: $6.70 (current), $7.35 (proposed)
  • Priority Mail legal flat-rate envelope: $7 (current), $7.65 (proposed)
  • Priority Mail padded flat-rate envelope: $7.25 (current), $8 (proposed)

Overall, the proposed prices would raise Mailing Services product prices by approximately 2.5 percent.

Shipping Services price increases vary by product. For example, Priority Mail Express prices will increase 3.9 percent, while Priority Mail prices will increase 5.9 percent.

Although Mailing Services price increases are based on the consumer price index, Shipping Services prices are primarily adjusted according to market conditions.

USPS filed the proposals with the PRC Oct. 10. The complete price filings are available on the PRC’s site under the Daily Listings section, and price change tables will be available on the Postal Explorer site.

The Postal Service’s news release has more information.

Dates to remember

Priority Mail boxes near poinsettia plant

USPS is offering suggested mail-by dates for the holiday mailing and shipping season.

Customers who want their domestic holiday mail and packages to arrive by Dec. 25 should follow these recommended deadlines:

  • Dec. 14: USPS Retail Ground
  • Dec. 14: First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • Dec. 20: First-Class Mail (including greeting cards)
  • Dec. 20: Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 20: Priority Mail
  • Dec. 20: Alaska to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 22: Alaska to mainland Priority Mail Express
  • Dec. 22: Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail Express
  • Dec. 22: Priority Mail Express

The Postal Service is also reminding customers they can use usps.com to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and request free next-day Package Pickup from a mail carrier.

Additionally, customers can use Informed Delivery to see their incoming mail and packages and reschedule package deliveries to ensure they can be home to receive them.

The Oct. 10 news release has more information. USPS also offered suggested international and military mailing deadlines this week.

Here comes Santa Claus

The Sparkling Holidays stamps

The Postal Service will release its Sparkling Holidays stamps Thursday, Oct. 11.

The stamps feature four images of Santa Claus created for Coca-Cola holiday advertisements that ran from the 1940s-1960s.

Additionally, USPS will offer a souvenir sheet with a semi-jumbo stamp as part of a wider scene that depicts Santa standing by a fireplace and holding a book that lists good boys and girls.

The images were created by famed commercial artist Haddon Sundblom, who is credited with refining the modern image of Santa as a smiling, rosy-cheeked, grandfatherly man in a red suit.

The stamps, which will be sold in booklets of 20, will be available at Post Offices and usps.com. The souvenir sheet is available at usps.com.

Sparkling Holidays is one of several new seasonal stamps from USPS this year.

Other offerings include Global: Poinsettia, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Madonna and Child by Bachiacca.

Also available this year, while supplies last: Diwali and Eid Greetings, as well as Nativity, Christmas Carols, Florentine Madonna and Child and previous Hanukkah and Kwanzaa releases.

Need to know

Scanning

Scanning snapshot. The Postal Service’s national scanning rating was 97.6 percent during the week ending Oct. 5, down from one week earlier.

Dakotas (99.14 percent) topped the districts, while Eastern (97.8 percent) led the areas.

To see the latest results, go to the Enterprise Analytics site and select “Analytics Tools,” followed by “DES2 Scan Dashboard.”

Storm watch. The Postal Service is preparing for Hurricane Michael, which is expected to cause dangerous storm surges and widespread flooding in Florida’s Gulf Coast region. The USPS Service Alerts site has the latest information.

New Blue. The Human Resources Shared Service Center (HRSSC) has a new Blue page.

The page features streamlined menus, simplified navigation and a responsive layout that can be viewed on desktop computers, laptops and mobile devices.

Human Resources introduced the page to make it easier for employees to use.

Employees can use the “Contact HRSSC” to provide feedback and offer suggestions.

Spreading cheer. Postal Posts, the USPS blog, has a new look to celebrate the holidays.

From October-December, the blog will feature fresh content each week to help keep customers up to date on peak season happenings, as well as ways to make the holidays a little easier.

Customers can check Postal Posts to learn about package shipping deadlines, volume projections, tips to avoid shipping glitches, special postmarks, ways to protect packages, how to ship food and fragile items, and more.

Got news for “Need to know”? Email your submissions to uspslink@usps.gov.