BS from the BLS on the USPS?

deadtreeOne industry insider thinks the Labor Bureau has it all wrong regarding big staffing cuts at the Post Office.

If you listen to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Post Office is going to be losing employees like crazy over the next 10 years. But is the report based in reality? D. Eadward Tree thinks not.

“Here we go again: Yet another government study has spurred news stories about how the U.S. Postal Service is on the verge of massive downsizing,” Tree writes in his blog. He’s referring to news stories based on new stats from the BLS that predict the postal workforce will shrink by 165,000 jobs in the next 10 years.

Is it true? Tree doesn’t think so, saying “it looks as if the report is based on old data and outdated assumptions.

According to the BLS, “Overall employment of postal service workers is projected to decline 28 percent from 2014 to 2024. Automated sorting systems, cluster mailboxes, and tight budgets will adversely affect employment.”

Tree retorts, “Sorry, BLS, automated sorting is old news and seems unlikely to yield much in the way of future productivity gains. Opposition from many corners means that a shift to cluster mailboxes will proceed at a snail’s pace. And tight USPS budgets are nothing new.”

And while the BLS predicts that other issues like delivery-point sequencing will have a big impact on staffing volumes, Tree notes that this is old news, and has likely had all the impact it’s going to have for the foreseeable future.

What is likely, both Tree and the BLS agree, is that shipping and package services are growing at the USPS, which Tree thinks is why staffing numbers actually inched up in 2015, not down.

“USPS’s strong growth for labor-intensive products like Parcel Select and Priority Mail shows no signs of abating. That, coupled with only minimal decreases in traditional letter mail, means that the Postal Service is unlikely to do much downsizing during the next few years,” he concludes.

Tree’s scenario seems far more likely. The discrepancies in the BLS study only points out the ongoing confusion and uncertainty when it comes to this critical service.