Mail use has been changing over the past decade as businesses and consumers have moved to electronic communication and payment alternatives. Mail volume decline has accelerated with the recession, particularly among major users in the advertising, financial, and housing sectors. Mail volume has typically returned after recessions, but USPS’s 5-year forecast suggests that much of the recent volume decline will not return.

Action is needed in multiple areas, including possible action and support by Congress; no single change will be sufficient to address USPS’s challenges.

• The short-term challenge for USPS is to cut costs quickly enough to offset volume and revenue declines, so that it can cover its operating expenses.

• The long-term challenge is to restructure USPS operations, networks, and workforce to reflect changes in mail volume, revenue, and use of mail.

What is shocking is the sudden, almost violent drop in mail volume that has occured from 2008 through 2009. There does not seem to be any indication that this decline in mail volume will stop.

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