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USPS finances

Postal worker handles stack of mail on workroom floor

The Postal Service has reported its financial results for fiscal year 2021 (Oct. 1, 2020-Sept. 30, 2021). Here are some highlights:

• Revenue. Operating revenue was $77 billion, an increase of 5.3 percent from the previous fiscal year. Shipping and packages revenue increased 12.2 percent, while Marketing Mail revenue increased 4.9 percent. First-Class Mail revenue decreased 2.1 percent.

• Volume. Total volume was 128.9 billion pieces, down 0.2 percent from the previous fiscal year. First-Class Mail volume declined 3.7 percent, while shipping and packages volume grew 3.5 percent. Marketing Mail volume increased 3.4 percent but remains lower than pre-pandemic levels.

• Expenses. Operating expenses for the year were $81.8 billion, down 0.4 percent, compared with a year prior.

• Adjusted loss. The adjusted loss for the year was $6.9 billion, compared with an adjusted loss of $7.6 billion for the previous fiscal year. This excludes noncash workers’ compensation adjustments for the effects of actuarial revaluation and discount rate changes that are outside of management’s control. On a U.S. generally accepted accounting principles basis, the Postal Service had a net loss of $4.9 billion for fiscal year 2021, compared with a net loss of $9.2 billion for the previous fiscal year.

Service performance continued to improve during the year, with USPS reporting its strongest service performance for all mail categories since the previous year.

“We are aggressively implementing our Delivering for America transformation plan and making solid progress in service and operational performance, and in enterprise-wide automation investments that have dramatically expanded our capacity to process and deliver holiday package volume for the nation,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

“Despite the magnitude of our financial challenges, we are making encouraging progress in correcting the long-term imbalance in postal revenue and expenses, and we expect to see continued improvement as we fully implement the Delivering for America plan, which includes making meaningful progress toward meeting or exceeding 95 percent on-time service performance for all mail and shipping products, which we will achieve once all the elements of the plan are implemented.”

In addition to the aggressive steps that management is undertaking, which are already producing positive results, postal reform legislation is also an integral part of the Postal Service’s recovery plan that is critical to ensuring financial self-sufficiency.

The Financials page has additional information.

New prices

The Postal Service has announced Shipping Services price changes for next year.

If reviewed favorably by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), the changes would take effect Jan. 9.

Here’s a list of current and planned prices:

• Priority Mail small flat-rate box: $8.45 (current), $9.45 (planned)

• Priority Mail medium flat-rate box: $15.50 (current), $16.10 (planned)

• Priority Mail large flat-rate box: $21.90 (current), $21.50 (planned)

• Army/Air Post Office and Fleet Post Office large flat-rate box: $20.40 (current), $20 (planned)

• Priority Mail regular flat-rate envelope: $7.95 (current), $8.95 (planned)

• Priority Mail legal flat-rate envelope: $8.25 (current), $9.25 (planned)

• Priority Mail padded flat-rate envelope: $8.55 (current), $9.65 (planned)

Overall, these changes would raise Shipping Services product prices approximately 3.1 percent for Priority Mail service and 3.1 percent for Priority Mail Express service.

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

The Postal Service implemented price changes for cards, letters and flats in August.

USPS filed the Shipping Services price proposals with the PRC on Nov. 10.

The filing also included pricing to support USPS Connect, a series of affordable package delivery offerings for businesses that is expected to launch in 2022, if favorably reviewed.

Additionally, the Postal Service is supporting mail by requesting approval for Plus One, a product that will provide additional marketing options for businesses to reach customers who use mail, and a market test for USPS Connect Local Mail, which will allow customers to send documents within local communities for same-day and next-day delivery.

Delivering for America, the organization’s plan to achieve financial stability, is designed to reverse a projected $160 billion in operating losses during the next 10 years.

The plan’s growth and efficiency initiatives, including the proposed pricing changes, together with necessary legislation, should allow USPS to make investments totaling approximately $40 billion during the next decade to modernize and improve the organization’s infrastructure to become more efficient and responsive.

The complete price filings can be found on the PRC website under the Daily Listings section (see Docket No. CP2022-22). The price change tables will be available on the Postal Explorer website.

Better shop around

To help Postal Service employees compare health plans during this year’s open season, the organization is offering access to Checkbook’s Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees.

The online comparison tool has information about all plans available through the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program.

The guide allows you to find the right health plan for you and your family.

It includes information on copays, deductibles, prescription drug costs and whether dental and vision benefits are included in specific health plans. You may find another health plan option that fits your needs for less money.

Most FEHB plans will see benefit and rate changes for the upcoming year. Some drop out of the program and others may change service areas or coverage options, so it’s important to check current offerings.

Checkbook has published its annual guide to federal benefits for more than 35 years. This is the fifth year USPS has provided free access for all employees and retirees.

Checkbook’s Guide to Health Plans is from the Center for the Study of Services, an independent nonprofit consumer organization that also publishes Consumers’ Checkbook.

Employees can access the guide through the Open Season LiteBlue page.

Open season, the annual period when employees can change their health coverage or enroll in a new plan, will conclude Monday, Dec. 13. Open season is also a good time to review and update your PostalEASE login information, as well as your beneficiary forms.

News Briefs

Scanning snapshot

Scanning snapshot. A snapshot of Postal Service scanning data shows the national rating was 96.88 percent during the week ending Nov. 5, down 0.09 percent from one week earlier.

The data was collected Nov. 10.

Central led the four areas with a rating of 97.16 percent, while Atlantic ranked last with a 96.7 percent rating.

Among the 50 districts, Washington, part of WestPac Area, ranked first with a 98.05 percent rating, while Puerto Rico, part of Southern Area, ranked last with an 86.65 percent rating.

Scanning data allows customers to track their mail and packages, which helps USPS deliver excellent service, boost loyalty and drive revenue.

To see the latest data, go to the Informed Visibility website and select “Customer Experience,” followed by “DES 2 Scan Performance.” Postal Service employees must request Informed Visibility access through eAccess.

Delivery data. From July 1-Oct. 29, the Postal Service delivered 91.1 percent of First-Class Mail on time when compared to the organization’s service standard, according to data released last week.

During the same period, USPS delivered 92.2 percent of Marketing Mail and 83.3 percent of Periodicals on time, the figures show.

Postal Bulletin. Postal Bulletin’s Nov. 4 edition has an overview of this year’s benefits enrollment season. The latest updates to USPS policies, procedures and forms are also included.

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Kernels of truth

Smiling woman stands outside popcorn company storefront

“News Quiz” is a weekly feature that lets you test your knowledge of recent Link stories. The correct answers appear at the end.

1. Which program or service does Texas popcorn company owner Debra Moore use to ship products to her customers?

a) Click-N-Ship
b) Every Door Direct Mail
c) Priority Mail
d) USPS Connect Local

2. How many videos are included in Analytics University’s new Peak Operations course?

a) 15
b) 44
c) 51
d) None of the above

3. What will Post Office retail signage showcase during this year’s holiday season?

a) Greeting cards
b) Informed Delivery
c) Shipping deadlines
d) Stamps

4. When must letters for this year’s USPS Operation Santa program be postmarked?

a) Nov. 15
b) Nov. 29
c) Dec. 10
d) Dec. 22

5. Match the planned 2022 stamp release in Column A with the series it represents in Column B.

Column A
a) Katharine Graham
b) Edmonia Lewis
c) Pete Seeger
d) Year of the Tiger

Column B
I) Black Heritage
II) Distinguished Americans
III) Lunar New Year
IV) Music Icons

Answers: 1) d. 2) a. 3) d. 4) c. 5) a. II., b. I., c. IV., d. III.

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