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Highlights

By the end of fiscal year 2011, with a projected net loss of about $10 billion, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) was expected to become insolvent. To mitigate this, Congress temporarily deferred USPS's required $5.5 billion retiree health benefit payment. Over the previous 4 years, USPS experienced a cumulative net loss of just over $20 billion. USPS expects its revenue to decline further as First-Class Mail is projected to decline nearly 7 percent annually through 2020. Consequently, decisions need to be made to determine how USPS should be restructured to put it on a path to financial viability. GAO was asked to summarize (1) long-term trends related to the demand for and use of mail, and (2) options for restructuring USPS's business model to adjust to changing mail trends. This summary is based on GAO's past work, including GAO-11-278 (High-Risk Series: An Update) and GAO-10-455 (USPS: Strategies and Options to Facilitate Progress toward Financial Viability), both of which found that USPS urgently needs to restructure its networks and workforce to achieve and sustain financial viability. In addition, GAO also used data and related studies from USPS. GAO performed this work from September 2011 to October 2011 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. GAO provided a draft of this report to USPS for comment and incorporated technical comments provided by USPS as appropriate.

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