USPS Sees $14.1B Loss on Mail Volumes

The U.S. Postal Service may post a record $14.1 billion loss for the 2012 fiscal year as mail volumes continue to drop and Congress forces it to make a payment for future retirees’ health benefits, Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett said.

The service, which says it may run out of cash to operate by next September, posted a 2011 net loss that narrowed to $5.1 billion in the year ended Sept. 30 because a $5.5 billion payment was delayed into fiscal 2012, Corbett said today at the service’s headquarters in Washington. The loss, including a benefits payment, was $8.5 billion a year earlier.

In September, Congress delayed the benefits payment deadline until Nov. 18. If that remains in place, the Postal Service will default on the payment, Corbett said.

The service, which is supposed to support itself financially, is closing post offices and processing plants, cutting jobs and promoting the mailing of letters and packages.

The amount of mail delivered by the Postal Service has been falling, hurt by the recession and the increasing use of electronic communications by individuals and businesses. Mail volumes have dropped more than 20 percent in the last five years.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last week approved a bill intended to help the service remain solvent and to lengthen the payment schedule to its retiree health benefits fund.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angela Greiling Keane in Washington at agreilingkea@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.