The US Postal Service filed its January financial report with the PRC yesterday. The USPS reported a net operating loss of $423 million for the period, bringing the year to date (YTD) loss for the first 4 months of the fiscal year to $1.6 billion. Almost all (95%) of that loss, however, is due to the accounting requirements of the 2006 PAEA law, not actual postal operations. The YTD loss before PAEA charges is just $88 million
Total mail volume was up slightly from the same period last year (SPLY). The increase, however, was entirely in the lower revenue standard mail category, which was up by 4% in January, and 3% year to date. First class mail volume was down 2% for the month, and down 4% year to date. Year to date standard mail pieces outnumber first class by a ratio of about 6 to 5. Package volume was also down.
One cause for concern in the report is an increase in employee workhours even as volume continues to decline. Total hours worked in January were up 2.3% from SPLY. Year to date the increase is 0.3%. “Inside” hours in the plants and post offices are down, but increased hours in delivery and “other” hours (maintenance and administrative) wiped out those savings. The jump in delivery hours may be due to harsh winter weather in many parts of the country.