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USPS Will End the Year With "Dramatic Change," Postmaster General Says

The news comes as the service reports a loss of $6.5 billion over the last year.

Like any other business, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has had to adapt and grow as customer needs change over time. But as an essential service, any alterations to delivery, pricing, or operations can have an outsized effect on the public who rely on it to send documents, conduct business, and ship parcels. It's also no secret that the mail service has been struggling to keep its bottom line consistent and become more efficient in recent years. But in a recent announcement, the U.S. Postmaster General said the USPS will end the year with "dramatic change" amid new difficulties. Read on to see what's in store and how you might be affected.

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The USPS just announced it posted a $6.5 billion net loss this past year.

usps sign and logo on a wall

During an open session meeting of the Postal Service Board of Governors on Nov. 14, U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced that the USPS finished the fiscal year 2023 with a net loss of $6.5 billion. In his remarks, DeJoy noted that his previous promises that the service would break even on its operating costs over the past year were derailed by inflation.

"We are not happy with this result," DeJoy said.

The news comes just a year after the USPS reported a net income of $56 billion, thanks to an influx of one-time funding from the passage of the Postal Service Reform Act, Axios reports. This year's total revenue also took a dip, decreasing 0.4 percent to $78.2 billion, while the volume of mail dropped from 127.4 million units to 116.1 million.

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DeJoy said the service would undergo some "dramatic changes" to finish out the year.

US postal worker delivering mail

In his announcement, DeJoy also said that the USPS was still in the beginning stages of his Delivering for America Plan to modernize operations. He remained confident that planned changes would help balance the service's finances.

"We are already providing more consistent, reliable, and timely delivery to America's businesses and residences," DeJoy said in a press release. "We are also addressing near-term financial headwinds relative to inflation as we make strong progress in our long-term cost control and revenue-generating strategies."

But DeJoy also did not hold back on the challenges lying ahead for the USPS to "evolve its operations" and compete with private delivery companies.

"This requirement for dramatic change in our operations and dramatic change in our culture needs to be articulated and amplified throughout our workforce, throughout our oversight entities, and throughout America," he said during his briefing.

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The USPS will update processing facilities, deploy new vehicles, and cut costs.

Mail trucks parked outside USPS office

DeJoy went on to outline some of the changes that would take place over the coming year. The USPS plans to complete more than 20 modernized processing facilities, close more than 40 "costly" annexes and contracted facilities, and open nearly 100 sorting and delivery centers. The service will also roll out a fleet of about 30,000 new delivery vehicles—all while aiming to reduce 28 million work hours and grow its package business by $1 billion.

"All of this will be done with calculation to keep disruption to service to a minimum, but please be aware, that this is not a perfect science," DeJoy admitted. "The road to success and the scope of the changes we are compelled to make will invariably result in some disruption on any given week, in any given area, for any given service."

"However, I can assure the American people and our customers that we will respond rapidly to correct for the impacts to service that might result from these complicated changes," he said.

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Some critics pushed back against the news—especially in light of other recently announced changes.

Close up on postage on stack of letters

These aren't the only USPS changes customers can expect to see in the near future. On Oct. 6, the service announced it would be seeking approval to raise the price of stamps yet again from 66 cents to 68 cents as of Jan. 21, 2024. The change would mark an overall increase of 32 percent over the past four years, up from a price of 50 cents in early 2019, Reuters reports.

But while some may see the cost increases and changes as necessary for hitting the bottom line, some critics called out DeJoy's tactics. According to Kevin Yoder, executive director of business mail advocacy organization Keep US Posted, they might actually be holding the USPS back.

"Twice-annual, above-inflation postage hikes are worsening the USPS' financial woes and trapping it in quicksand, as even more mail is driven out of the system," Yoder said in a statement, per CBS News. "DeJoy shouldn't receive any more blank checks from Congress to only raise postage rates, cut service, and drive more debt."

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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