The U.S. Postal Service reported a $3.5 billion loss in its most recent quarter Thursday, as mail volume plummets and retiree health care costs mount.
The USPS, a self-supporting government agency that receives no tax dollars, said operating revenue declined 1.8% to $16 billion during the fiscal 2010 third quarter compared to a year earlier, while operating expenses spiked 4.2% to $19.5 billion. The quarterly loss was the fourteenth in the last sixteen quarters, the postal service said.
During the third quarter alone, mail volume slipped 1.7% to 40.9 billion pieces. The USPS, which relies solely on the sale of postage-related products and services to generate revenue, has projected that total mail volume will fall more than 5% on an annual basis for the 2010 fiscal year, which ends September 30.
Earlier this year, the USPS estimated that it will incur about $238 billion in losses in the next 10 years if Congress doesn’t permit it to revamp its outdated business model. “Securing the fiscal stability of the Postal Service will require continued efforts in all of these areas, as well as further review of retiree health benefit prefunding,” said postmaster general John Potter.