The numbers bring the Postal Service’s year-to-date net loss to $11.6 billion, compared to $5.7 billion for the same period last year.
Art Sackler, co-coordinator of the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, a group representing the private-sector mailing industry, cautioned that the worst of postal losses may be yet to come. He noted that the Postal Service’s third-quarter numbers may reflect an unusually high volume of mail that typically occurs in an election year.
The Postal Service on Thursday said it believes it will stay afloat, despite perilously low cash levels anticipated in October, partly because of increased revenue from the higher amount of election mail.
“There are more than 8 million private sector workers whose jobs depend on the mail, and these jobs may be in jeopardy if Congress fails to reform the Postal Service,” Sackler said. “As bad as things are getting for the Postal Service, it could be worse next year.”
The agency has forecast a record $15 billion loss by the end of this fiscal year. Without legislative changes, it said, annual losses will exceed $21 billion by 2016.
Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said Congress is to blame for much of the postal red ink.
“The positive aspects to today’s USPS report are the continuing sharp rises in revenue from package deliveries associated with Internet orders and also in productivity,” he said. “If Congress would step up and fix the pre-funding mess it created, then the Postal Service could focus on developing a business plan for the future…. Degrading services and dismantling the universal network are not a business plan.”
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