USPS reports $2.1 billion loss for 2nd quarter

  • Loss from operations (“controllable” loss) $806 million
  • Revenue of $17.5 billion, essentially unchanged compared to same quarter last year
  • Net loss of $2.1 billion
  • USPS remains focused on aggressive management actions and legislative and regulatory reforms to provide Americans with a financially sustainable Postal Service

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Postal Service reported total revenue of $17.5 billion for the second quarter of fiscal 2019 (January 1, 2019 – March 31, 2019), a decrease of $8 million, or essentially flat, compared to the same quarter last year.

First-Class Mail revenue declined by $217 million, or 3.3 percent, on a volume decline of 576 million pieces, or 3.9 percent, compared to the same quarter last year. Marketing Mail revenue declined by $155 million, or 3.9 percent, on a volume decline of 959 million pieces, or 5.2 percent, compared to the same quarter last year. Meanwhile, Shipping and Packages revenue increased by $253 million, or 4.9 percent, on volume growth of 5 million pieces, or 0.3 percent, compared to the same quarter last year.

Total operating expenses were $19.6 billion for the quarter, an increase of $751 million, or 4.0 percent, compared to the same quarter last year. Excluding costs impacted by actuarial revaluation, discount rate changes, and amortization of unfunded liabilities, which are outside of management’s control, expenses increased by $154 million, or 0.8 percent, compared to the same quarter last year.

“The Postal Service continues to pursue aggressive management actions and to seek legislative and regulatory reforms to address our overall cost structure and enhance revenue-generating opportunities,” said Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan. “Our focus remains on meeting the expectations of the American public, continuing to invest in the future of the organization, and continually delivering innovations and increased value for both the senders and receivers of mail and packages.”

The net loss for the quarter totaled nearly $2.1 billion, an increase of $747 million, compared to a net loss of $1.3 billion for the same quarter last year, however, the controllable loss for the quarter was $806 million, compared to a controllable loss of $656 million for the same quarter last year.

“We continue to face challenges from the ongoing migration of mail to electronic alternatives, and we are legally limited under current law in how we can price our products and streamline our legacy costs,” said Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Joseph Corbett. “Within the framework of our current business model, we are executing to grow revenue and reduce operating expenses.”

Second Quarter Fiscal 2019 Operating Revenue and Volume by Service Category Compared to Prior Year
The following table presents revenue and volume by category for the three months ended March 31, 2019, and 2018:

Revenue

Volume

(revenue in $ millions; volume in millions of pieces)

2019

2018

2019

2018

Service Category
First-Class Mail $

6,276

$

6,493

14,207

14,783

Marketing Mail

3,833

3,988

17,643

18,602

Shipping and Packages

5,441

5,188

1,470

1,465

International

583

662

205

243

Periodicals

298

304

1,163

1,185

Other

1,061

861

69

70

Total operating revenue and volume $

17,492

$

17,496

34,757

36,348

 

Selected Second Quarter Fiscal 2019 Results of Operations and Controllable Loss
This news release references controllable loss, which is not calculated and presented in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (GAAP). Controllable loss is defined as net loss adjusted for items outside of management’s control and non-recurring items. These adjustments include workers’ compensation expenses caused by actuarial revaluation and discount rate changes, and the amortization of Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund (PSRHBF), Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) unfunded liabilities

The following table presents selected results of operations and reconciles GAAP net loss to controllable loss and illustrates the loss from ongoing business activities without the impact of non-controllable items for the three months ended March 31, 2019, and 2018:

(results in $ millions)

2019

2018

Operating revenue $

17,492

$

17,496

Other revenue

3

7

Total revenue $

17,495

$

17,503

Total operating expenses $

19,557

$

18,806

Interest and investment income (expense), net

(20)

(32)

Net loss $

(2,082)

$

(1,335)

PSRHBF unfunded liability amortization expense1

275

297

Change in workers’ compensation liability resulting from fluctuations in discount rates

454

(557)

Other change in workers’ compensation liability2

(53)

(58)

CSRS unfunded liability amortization expense3

360

479

FERS unfunded liability amortization expense4

240

415

Change in normal cost of retiree health benefits due to revised actuarial assumptions5

103

Controllable loss $

(806)

$

(656)

1  Expense for the accrual for the annual payment due to PSRHBF by September 30 of the respective fiscal year, for the amortization of the unfunded liability based on Postal Service estimates to OPM’s preliminary calculations with updated discount rate assumptions.
2  Net amounts include changes in assumptions, valuation of new claims and revaluation of existing claims, less current year claim payments.
3  Expense for the accrual for the annual payment due to OPM by September 30 of the respective fiscal year, based on information provided by OPM, to amortize the unfunded CSRS retirement obligation. Payments are to be made through 2043 based on OPM invoices.
4  Expense for the accrual for the annual payment due to OPM by September 30 of the respective fiscal year, based on information provided by OPM, to amortize the unfunded FERS retirement obligation. Payments are to be made through 2047 based on OPM invoices.
5  Represents the accrual for the portion or the increase in the annual normal cost payments due September 30, 2018, attributable to revised actuarial assumptions and discount rate changes, based on OPM’s invoices for the year. This amount represents the noncontrollable portion of the expense recorded for normal cost of retiree health benefits.

 

Financial results in the Form 10-Q are available at http://about.usps.com/what/financials/