Stock up on those “forever” stamps now, before the price goes up. The U.S. Postal Service Friday announced plans to hike the cost of a one-ounce first-class letter to 58 cents, effective August 29. Metered letters, domestic postcards, large pieces called “flats,” and outbound international letters will also see price rises.
Beyond stamped first-class mail, metered letters will increase 2 cents to 53 cents for the first ounce; domestic postcards will go from 36 cents to 40 cents; and mailing one-ounce flats will increase from $1 to $1.16. International letters will go from $1.20 to $1.30 for the first ounce. Postage for additional domestic letter ounces, currently 20 cents, remain unchanged.
First-class mail prices will increase by 6.8 percent, the quasi-governmental agency said, to offset drops in first-class letter revenue. Such mailings peaked at 103 billion pieces of first-class mail in the year 2000 but fell to only 52 billion last year. Industry watchers generally credit the decline to the exponential rise of e-mail and electronic bill payments.
In addition, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 limited price increases for mailing services at the level of the Consumer Price Index. The law mandated the independent Postal Rate Commission review the price-increase cap after 10 years, which it did in 2017. Last year, the PRC ruled the Postal Service could raise certain prices above the CPI increase.
The USPS said a full implementation of its 10-year “Delivering for America” plan would reverse a projected $160 billion in operating losses over the next decade. In May, the agency reported a net loss of $82 million for the second quarter of 2021.
Although the USPS delivered approximately 129.2 billion pieces of mail and packages in 2020, with record parcel volume due to pandemic-related lockdowns and an exponential rise in online shopping, financial woes continue to plague the agency.