A recent article (theguardian.com, 1 February) made the interesting proposal that the United States Postal Service help distribute food to America’s hungry, but in the initial version the author described the postal service as in decline. In fact, the evidence suggests the opposite.
The USPS delivers to 155m homes from coast to coast, six – and now increasingly seven – days a week as deals such as the one with Amazon are signed. Daily, an average of 3,630 new household, business or organisation addresses are added to the postal delivery network.
Twenty thousand letter carriers have been added in the past couple of years to handle the growing number of homes and businesses serviced by USPS as well as the spiralling package deliveries (up 16% last year alone). USPS provides Americans and their businesses with the industrial world’s most affordable delivery network, and has been for seven years running the most trusted federal agency. It now delivers 47% of the world’s mail.
Financially, annual USPS revenue has been rising steadily, leading to impressive operating profits. Revenue exceeded operating expenses by $610m in fiscal year 2016, bringing total operating profit the past three years to $3.2bn. On 9 February USPS announced a $522m operating profit for fiscal 2017’s first quarter, putting postal operations in the black by $3.7bn since the start of 2014. This is without a dime of taxpayer money; USPS earns its revenue.
President of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Washington DC, USA