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Highlights

GAO is adding the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) financial condition to the list of high-risk areas needing attention by Congress and the executive branch to achieve broad-based transformation. Amid challenging economic conditions and a changing business environment, USPS is facing a deteriorating financial situation in which it does not expect to cover its expenses and financial obligations in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. This year, USPS expects to increase its year-end debt to $10.2 billion and incur a cash shortfall of about $1 billion. Another key risk factor is the accelerated decline in mail volume. Mail volume declined by 9.5 billion pieces in fiscal year 2008 to about 203 billion pieces. As of the end of May 2009, mail volume had decreased another 18.5 billion pieces, and USPS expects to end fiscal year 2009 with mail volume of 175 billion pieces--about 28 billion pieces fewer than in fiscal year 2008. Further, it expects flat or continued volume and revenue declines over the next 5 years. These trends expose weaknesses in USPS's business model, which has relied on growth in mail volume to help cover costs and enable USPS to be self-supporting.

Below are the reports in this series:

High-Risk Series: An Update GAO-09-271, January 2009

Added later:

High-Risk Series: Restructuring the U.S. Postal Service to Achieve Sustainable Financial Viability GAO-09-937SP, July 28, 2009

High-Risk Series: U.S. Postal Service: Restructuring Urgently Needed to Achieve Financial Viability GAO-09-958T, August 6, 2009

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