The US Postal Service posted an operating profit of $195 million in January, helped by a 2% revenue increase compared with the same period last year. That brings the USPS year to date profit to just over $1.3 billion. As usual, however, the USPS will make non-cash bookkeeping entries mandated by Congress that will turn the profit into a paper “loss” of $1.4 billion for the month, and $2 billion for the year to date. (The artificial charges include $1.9 billion for the year to date portion of the annual “trust fund” payment that the USPS will not actually make, and $1.5 billion for changes to estimated future workers comp liabilities.)
The increase in revenue was driven largely by growth in first class mail volume, which increased by 1.4% compared with a year ago, with first class revenue up by 5.5%. Shipping and package volumes were up by 5.4%, but that increase yielded less than one percent uptick in revenue. Standard mail volume, which had been up in the first quarter due in part to political mailings, was down by 3.3%, although revenue was up slightly.