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USPS finances

Worker sorts mail in postal workroom

The Postal Service has reported total revenue of $17.8 billion for fiscal year 2020’s second quarter (Jan. 1-March 31), up 2 percent from the same period one year earlier.

The coronavirus pandemic, which has severely hurt the U.S. economy, began to cause mail volume to decline in late March, and the impact on USPS has worsened since then. The organization estimates the pandemic will substantially increase its net operating loss during the next 18 months, threatening the Postal Service’s ability to operate.

However, while USPS began experiencing the effects of the pandemic in mid-March, the health crisis did not have a significant impact on second-quarter results. Significant impacts are expected during the remainder of the year.

Here are some additional second-quarter highlights:

• First-Class Mail and Marketing Mail. First-Class Mail revenue increased 1.4 percent, while volume declined 0.2 percent. This growth was due to one-time mailings associated with the 2020 census; otherwise, First-Class Mail revenue and volume would have each declined. Marketing Mail revenue declined 2.5 percent, while volume declined 3.4 percent. Ongoing declines in mail revenue and volume have continued, and the Postal Service projects these declines will be exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic.

• Shipping and packages. Shipping and packages revenue increased 7.1 percent and volume increased 0.8 percent, compared with the same quarter last year. In the near term, the Postal Service anticipates that these trends will accelerate as the nation experiences a surge in online shopping as a result of quarantines, shelter-in-place orders and travel and logistics restrictions stemming from the pandemic.

USPS is serving its customers during this crisis through the delivery of medicine, essential consumer staples, benefits checks and important information, but the organization doesn’t expect its package revenue growth over the medium term or long term to offset its losses in mail service revenue caused by the pandemic.

• Expenses and net loss. Total operating expenses were $22.3 billion for the quarter, an increase of 14.2 percent compared with the same period one year earlier. The net loss for the quarter was $4.5 billion compared with a net loss of $2.1 billion for the same quarter last year.

“Although the pandemic did not have significant impact on our financial condition in our second quarter, we anticipate that our business will suffer potentially dire consequences for the remainder of the year, and we are already feeling those impacts during the last half of March,” said Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan.

“At a time when America needs the Postal Service more than ever, the pandemic is starting to have a devastating effect on our business with mail volumes plummeting as a result of the pandemic. 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.”

Brennan added, “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.”

Acting fast

An Illinois Postmaster’s conversation with the owner of a local wholesale business led to a solution for his shipping crisis and brought in more than $600,000 in revenue for the Postal Service.

During a recent Business Connect event sponsored by the Minooka, IL, Post Office, Melissa Davison introduced herself to Daniel Bekavac of Bekavac Trading in nearby Crest Hill.

Bekavac told Davison that his shipper had abruptly refused his shipments because of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving his company in the lurch.

Davison submitted a Business Connect lead, calling in assistance from the USPS small-business team.

Business Development Specialist Alfred Strickland worked with Bekavac to formulate a deal to handle the company’s shipping, which resulted in $604,020 of documented revenue.

This revenue has been added to the Postal Service’s Race for a $Billion campaign total, which is at $631.5 million as of May 6.

The initiative, which began last fall, aims to raise $1 billion through employee-provided sales leads before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Employees can submit leads through the Business Connect, Clerks Care, Customer Connect, Mail Handlers, Rural Reach and Submit a Lead programs.

“Melissa Davison’s quick thinking helped this business out of a difficult situation because of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Mary Anderson, small-business engagement director at USPS headquarters. “Postal Service employees are crucial in saving Main Street USA during this difficult time.”

The Sales Blue page has more information about the lead-sharing programs, including instructions on participating.

Being well

The USPS Wellness team will offer two webinars this week that are designed to help Postal Service employees deal with their mental and physical health during the coronavirus pandemic.

The first session, “Emotional and Mental Well-Being During COVID-19,” will be held Tuesday, May 12, from noon-1 p.m. Eastern time.

The webinar will explore how the need for social distancing can affect our emotional and mental health. The session will also offer new ways to connect with friends and family as well as ways to cope with the stress of the pandemic.

Participants must register on the “Emotional and Mental Well-Being During COVID-19” website.

The second session, “Managing Weight Through Wellness,” will be held Wednesday, May 13, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Eastern time.

This fun, informative presentation will be led by Christine Cintron, a certified holistic nutritionist, and will feature helpful tips.

Participants must register on the “Managing Weight Through Wellness” website.

After employees register for one or both webinars, they will receive participation instructions by email. Following each presentation, all registered participants will receive an emailed copy of the presentation.

Participation in both webinars is voluntary. Non-exempt employees can only participate in the webinars while off the clock or during authorized breaks.

Both webinars will be presented by GEHA, a not-for-profit provider of medical and dental plans for federal employees.

For more information about either webinar, email the Wellness team.