The US Postal Service reported an operating surplus of $76 million for the month of February, bringing its fiscal year to date profit to $1.4 billion. Those numbers reflect actual revenue and expenses, and do not include the non-cash accounting entries the USPS records every month to comply with the 2006 PAEA law. Ironically, the February numbers actually would look better using the PAEA figures, since they include a whopping $666 million paper “credit” for the change in valuation of future workers comp liabilities. Unfortunately for the USPS, that $666 million is just as ephemeral as the half billion or so the USPS charges to PAEA “trust fund” payments every month, even though it never actually makes the payments.
Leaving aside imaginary numbers, here are some of the highlights from the February report:
- Total mail volume was down 1.3% from last February (SPLY) For the first five months of the fiscal year, volume is still slightly above SPLY, thanks largely to the large volume of political mail in the first quarter.
- First class mail was down 1.8% from SPLY, while standard mail dropped by 1.5%.
- Revenue from “market dominant” services (First class, standard and periodicals) was down by $48.5 million from the prior year.
- Package and shipping service revenue more than made up for the decline in mailing revenue, up by $123 million.
- Package services accounted for 23% of USPS revenue, up from 21% a year ago.
- Total operating expenses (excluding PAEA) were up 2.2% compared to SPLY.
- Total personnel expenses (excluding PAEA) were up by 3.1%.
- Despite the decline in total volume, employees in the operating functions worked more hours than they did a year ago: City Delivery hours were up by 2.7%, Rural Delivery by 3.1%, Customer Service by 8.4% and Mail Processing by 1.4%.