USPS year to date operations loss $711 million- down 63% from a year ago

With just one month left in is fiscal year the US Postal Service has reported an operating loss of $711 million through August. That’s down 63% from the $1.9 billion shortfall the agency reported this time last year. That doesn’t include the arbitrary $5.5 billion a year charge Congress slaps on, and that the USPS never actually pays.

Needless to say, you won’t hear those numbers at this weeks Senate hearing- instead you’ll probably hear more about the alleged “liquidity crisis”. The USPS must be the only agency, organization or company that can have a “liquidity crisis” at the same time that it has $46 billion sitting in a trust fund!

Looking at the real numbers in the USPS report, total revenue is up by 1.4%, while actual (“controllable”) operating expenses are down 0.7%. The uptick in revenue is thanks to shipping and package services, which have seen an 8.4% increase in revenue this year. Despite that growth, however, packages still represent less than a quarter of the USPS’s total revenue.

The postal service’s most profitable service, first class mail, continues to decline, with volume down 3.9% and revenue down 1.9% from a year ago. Standard mail is up slightly for the year, with volume up by 1.6%, and revenue by 2.7%.

August FY2013 Financial Report to the PRC (.pdf).

  • Jack Tripper

    The writer makes it sound like a 770 million loss is a good thing…I guess when it is not your money it is ok to have that kind of net loss…if it was a private industry more people would be layed off and the stock price would plummet…hey we only loss 770 million lets throw a party…good grief..

  • LiamSkye

    No, you need to offset the $711M loss with the $893M adjustment to the workers comp liabilty, leaving an operational profit of $182 million for the year so far. Including the interest income and expense results in a net profit of around $28M if the PSRHBF prepayment is not included.

    • postalnews

      No, the workers comp adjustment is a non-cash bookkeeping adjustment- it is not actual money available to fund operations.

      We use the controllable expense line, which consistently excludes both the trust fund and workers comp valuation lines.

      • LiamSkye

        That was really a tongue in cheek suggestion because the mainstream media always includes the workers comp liability adjustments as part of the “losses.” Since this year the adjustment to the liability is negative rather than positive, I believe that consistency requires that the negative value be included just as it is always included. I can’t wait to see how many of them will now point out that it is simply a non-cash adjustment to a long-term liability. Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to report long-term liabilities on profit-loss statements rather than on the balance sheet where they belong.

        • postalnews

          Your comment may have been tongue in cheek, but another blog actually ran a piece headlined “USPS August financial statement: Without RHBF prefunding, YTD $182 million profit”!

          • LiamSkye

            In a way I can almost agree! Most of the interest expense of $176 million is a direct result of borrowing to fund RHBF so you could throw that back in there too!

  • BigDaddyJ

    Its not accurate to say “That doesn’t include the arbitrary $5.5 billion a year charge Congress slaps on, and that the USPS never actually pays” because they have paid it up until recently….