Postal Jobs to Remain Stable in 2016

USPSeagleNo big cuts in work force, but plenty of operating losses predicted at the USPS for the coming year.

“Don’t look for any major downsizing from the U.S. Postal Service during the coming year: A new report indicates the postal workforce will remain stable through late 2016,” writes D. Eadward Tree in his blog.

Works hours will be down slightly (about 0.6%), Tree continues, along with a slight (2.1%) reduction in mail volume.

It’s a shift from 2013’s five year plan that called for 92,000 job cuts by 2017. According to tree, the USPS released that report “then almost immediately put the brakes on more than a decade of downsizing: Since that report was released, the career workforce has hardly budged, ending FY 2015 at 492,000.”

“That 2013 plan projected many of the cuts would come from curtailing Saturday deliveries, but that proposal has apparently been abandoned. Five-day delivery isn’t even mentioned in the FY2016 financial plan,” he continues.

Still in play is the potential elimination of the 4.3% exigent surcharge, which Tree assumes will be eliminated next year. We’re not so sure, especially with recent news of the multi-billion dollar loss.

“Assuming that the 4.3% exigent surcharge on most postal rates will be eliminated early next year, the plan projects a revenue increase of only $400 million, to $69.3 billion,” Tree explains.

This is where it all gets a little confusing, though. The huge losses are really only on paper, according to Tree.

“With an estimated $1.5 billion in additional expenses, that would mean an operating loss of $100 million. (Politicians and the news media will call it a $5.9 billion loss because they will include the supposed prepayment of retiree health benefits that postal officials wisely refuse to pay).”

Maybe showing this huge loss on paper is a good thing for the USPS, as it will make it easier for them to lobby for higher rates and a continuance of the exigent rate hike. We’ll have to wait and see what spring brings.