Key Issues > U.S. Postal Service's Financial Viability - High Risk Issue
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U.S. Postal Service's Financial Viability - High Risk Issue

Declining mail volume and annual net losses have contributed to the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) deteriorating financial condition and the need to restructure its unsustainable business model.

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USPS’s mission of providing prompt, reliable, and efficient universal services to the public is at risk due to its poor financial condition.  As technology and the Internet have changed how businesses and consumers use the mail, USPS's financial condition has deteriorated resulting in:

  • 10 consecutive fiscal years of net losses totaling over $60 billion, and
  • borrowing from the U.S. Treasury leading to continued debt of $15 billion—the statutory limit.

Consequently, USPS has been designated as high risk because its business model is not viable as it cannot fund its current level of services, operations, and financial obligations from its revenues and urgently needs to restructure to reflect changes in mail volume, revenue, and use of the mail. Congress and USPS need to reach agreement on a comprehensive package of actions to achieve sustainable financial viability.  In 2010, we reported on proposed strategies and options that Congress could consider to better align USPS costs with revenues and address constraints and legal restrictions that limit USPS's ability to reduce costs and improve efficiency. In September 2016, USPS issued a 5-year plan for fiscal years 2017 to 2021 that outlines its strategy for achieving financial viability, and identified legislative and regulatory changes needed to implement its plan.

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