NPR : News

Postal Service Reports Record $15.9 Billion Loss

The United States Postal Service reported a record $15.9 billion loss in fiscal year 2012. That compares to a $5.1 billion loss last fiscal year.

Bloomberg reports that the postal service is forecast to run out of cash by Oct. 15, 2013 when it is scheduled to make a workers compensation payment to the Labor Department. The Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe painted a grim picture when he announced the loss.

"We are walking a financial tightrope," Donahoe said according to Bloomberg. "Will we ever stop delivering the mail? It will never happen. We are simply too important to the economy and the flow of commerce."

In a statement, the postal service says Congress needs to act so the service can stop the bleeding. The postal service wants Congress to, among other things, allow it to cut Saturday service and to allow it to resolve "the overfunding of the Postal Service's obligation to the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS)."

This news comes just months after USPS defaulted on two payments worth $11.1 billion to the Treasury.

Reuters reports that Donahoe said the service can't return to profitability without Congressional action.

Reuters adds that during the fiscal year:

"Total mail volume tumbled to 159.9 billion pieces in 2012, a 5 percent dip from 168.3 billion pieces a year ago.

"While email has obliterated mail volumes, online shopping has proved a boon for the package business as the Postal Service delivers items ordered from e-Bay , Amazon.com and others. The agency said package revenue rose by $926 million, or 8.7 percent, during the year.

"Operating revenue fell 0.8 percent to $65.2 billion for the year. Operating expenses, including the two retiree health payments, rose 14.7 percent to $81 billion in 2012."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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