USPS Is Starting the New Year With All These Changes to Your Mail
The agency has already proposed several updates to its operations for 2024.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is working to completely overhaul the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). As we head into 2024, the USPS is entering the fourth year of the decade-long plan DeJoy kickstarted in 2021, Delivering for America (DFA). In a recent interview, the Postmaster General said his vision is centered around "innovation" as a way to pull the agency out of long-term financial crisis and make it a competitor in the marketplace. Over the last three years, this has been done through various initiatives to transform the Postal Service's operations—and those changes won't stop any time soon. Read on to learn about what changes are coming to your mail in the new year.
The USPS just revealed new stamp designs for 2024.
The Postal Service's latest plans for the new year include enticing customers to buy stamps with some fun newly-released designs. In a Nov. 30 press release, the USPS announced four new stamp subjects for 2024: Dungeons & Dragons; John Wooden; Carnival Nights; and Ansel Adams.
The Dungeons & Dragons collection will honor the 50th anniversary of the popular game through a "pane of 20 stamps features 10 different designs that highlight characters, creatures and encounters familiar to players of the game," according to the USPS.
The Carnival Nights series will also include 10 new stamps in a pane of 20 that feature photographs centered around "energy and color of a summer carnival at night" as a way to celebrate "one of America's favorite pastimes," the agency added.
The other new designs will honor two famous figures in the country's history. John Wooden was known for his work as a coach for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins, and is "often considered the greatest coach in the history of American sports," the release stated. Wooden's stamp will feature a portrait of him on top of a "UCLA blue" background, while the last series announced will include 16 stamps that feature some of the "most famous images" from renowned photographer Ansel Adams.
These collections join a group of more new stamps for next year that the USPS previously announced back in October. But together, these still "make up only a partial list," the agency added. And in terms of mail changes, new stamp designs are just the surface of what the Postal Service already has in store.
The agency has announced price hikes.
If any of the newly announced stamps have caught your eye, be prepared to pay more for them. The USPS has also announced plans for a price hike in the new year. In an Oct. 6 press release, the agency indicated that is had filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) of plans to raise mailing services product prices by approximately 2 percent.
"As inflationary pressures on operating expenses continue and the effects of a previously defective pricing model are still being felt, these price adjustments are needed to provide the Postal Service with much needed revenue to achieve the financial stability sought by its Delivering for America 10-year plan," the USPS said in its release.
This change would include a 2-cent increase on the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp—raising the cost for customers from 66 cents to 68 cents. If favorably reviewed by the PRC, the USPS plans to put the new mailing rates into effect starting Jan. 21.
Your shipping costs are set to increase as well.
And that's not all in terms of higher prices. In a Nov. 15 press release, the agency announced that it had also filed notice with the PRC of a proposed price hike for shipping services. The "new competitive prices for 2024" will affect three different services: USPS Ground Advantage, Priority Mail, and Priority Mail Express.
If approved by the PRC, USPS Ground Advantage prices will increase by 5.4 percent, Priority Mail prices will increase by 5.7 percent, and Priority Mail Express prices will increase by 5.9 percent. As with the new mailing rates, the USPS wants to change these shipping costs for customers starting Jan. 21.
"The Postal Service continues to offer a great value in shipping," the agency noted in its release. "Unlike some other shippers, the Postal Service has upfront pricing and does not add surcharges for residential and regular Saturday delivery, nor fuel. Also, the Postal Service offers convenient flat rate and cubic pricing options."
A new mail incentive is kickstarting next year, too.
There is another area the USPS is already planning to tackle in the new year: mail volume. In a report released Aug. 8, the agency revealed that First-Class Mail volume declined by 678 million pieces, or 5.9 percent, in the third quarter of the 2023 fiscal year, while Marketing Mail volume fell by 2.6 billion pieces, or 16 percent, in that same timeframe.
During a May 2023 Congressional hearing, DeJoy admitted that the sharp decline in mail volume over the last decade and a half has "severely impacted" the agency's finances, efficiency, and effectiveness.
"Our cost to deliver mail continuously increased as our mail volume and revenue declined. This was driven by increased demand on our network, including the number of delivery points we serve, which had grown, and continues to grow, on average by more than one million delivery points each year," he said. "Simply put, we were delivering less mail to more delivery points each year, which meant less revenue to cover increasing costs each year."
To combat this, the agency has filed notice with the PRC "requesting approval to make certain Mail Classification Schedule (MCS) changes to establish two Mail Growth Incentives—a First-Class Mail Growth Incentive and a Marketing Mail Growth Incentive," according to an Aug. 11 press release. If approved by the PRC, these incentives are set to run from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2024.
"These two incentives will drive mail owners to increase the volume of First-Class and Marketing mail entering the network while providing them lower overall postage costs on incremental growth — allowing mail owners to maximize total return on investment, by providing additional cost-savings and strengthening the value of mail," the agency stated in its release.
- Source: USPS: Delivering for America
- Source: Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Shares Approach To Leadership and Vision for Transformation of USPS At 2023 Concordia United States Summit
- Source: U.S. Postal Service Reveals Additional Stamps for 2024
- Source: U.S. Postal Service Reveals Stamps for 2024
- Source: U.S. Postal Service Proposes New Prices for 2024
- Source: U.S. Postal Service Announces New Competitive Prices for 2024
- Source: U.S. Postal Service Reports Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2023 Results
- Source: Tracking the Postal Service: An Update on the Delivering for America Plan
- Source: USPS Files With PRC to Establish Mail Growth Incentives