The Postal Service is a government agency that operates like a business.
The organization provides a vital delivery service that fosters commerce, serves every address in the United States and binds the nation.
USPS receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
The Postal Service has three major lines of business: First-Class Mail, Marketing Mail and packages.
During fiscal 2018 (Oct. 1, 2017-Sept. 30, 2018), USPS delivered 146 billion pieces of mail to 159 million delivery addresses and operated more than 31,000 Post Offices.
The organization is governed by an independent board of governors that acts much like a board of directors, conducting long-range planning and setting strategic policies, among other duties.
USPS has more than 630,000 employees, making it the second-largest civilian employer in the United States.
Altogether, USPS generated $71 billion in revenue last year. This means that if the Postal Service were a private enterprise, it would rank 40th on the Fortune 500 list.
The organization’s total operating expenses for fiscal 2018 were $74.4 billion. This left the Postal Service with a net loss of $3.9 billion.
Several factors contributed to the net loss, including declining First-Class Mail volume and increased fuel and transportation costs. Salaries and benefits also increased.
USPS is working to manage the business, including growing its packages and shipping service, upgrading equipment and boosting the value of mail.
Long-term financial stability requires legislative postal reform; a favorable outcome from a 10-year pricing review by the Postal Regulatory Commission, an agency that regulates postal products and services; and continued efforts by USPS to innovate and become more efficient.
This is the first edition of “About the Business,” a regular feature in Link that will look at the business of USPS.