U.S. Postal Service: Deteriorating Postal Finances Require Aggressive Actions to Reduce Costs

GAO-09-332T Published: Jan 28, 2009. Publicly Released: Jan 28, 2009.
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When Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act in December 2006, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) had just completed fiscal year 2006 with its largest mail volume ever--213 billion pieces of mail and a net income of $900 million. Two years later, USPS's mail volume dropped almost 5 percent--the largest single-year decline. The Postmaster General testified last March before this subcommittee that USPS was facing a potential net loss of over $1 billion for fiscal year 2008. He noted that USPS anticipated continued deterioration due to the economic slowdown, as the financial, credit, and housing sectors are among its key business drivers. He also said that the shifts in transactions and messages from mail to electronic communications and from advertising mail to lower-cost electronic media have affected the USPS's financial situation. This testimony focuses on (1) USPS's financial condition and outlook and (2) options and actions for USPS to remain financially viable in the short and long term. It is based on GAO's past work and updated postal financial information. We asked USPS for comments on our statement. USPS generally agreed with the accuracy of our statement and provided technical corrections and some additional perspective, which we incorporated where appropriate.

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