Updated Nov 16, 2023 - Politics & Policy

U.S. Postal Service set to lose $6.5 billion this year

U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy speaking in Washington, D.C., in December 2022.

U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy speaking in Washington, D.C., in December 2022. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is set to report a net loss of $6.5 billion this fiscal year, according to new projections released on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The service was supposed to break even by this year under the 10-year "Delivering for America" plan implemented by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in 2021 "to achieve financial sustainability."

  • The loss comes after the service said it reported a net income of $56.0 billion last year, though that was primarily from a one-time infusion from the Postal Service Reform Act in April 2022.
  • The plan centers on slowing the delivery of some mail and increasing the price of stamps, which USPS has done multiple times in the last couple years.

What they're saying: The service said the loss was in part the result of "the impact of inflation on operating expenses."

  • DeJoy, who was a Trump-era appointee, defended the plan in a statement on Wednesday, saying the service was only "in the early stages of one of the nation's largest organizational transformations."

Keep Us Posted, a nonprofit advocacy group that seeks to preserve the service, said in a statement Wednesday that postage hikes contributed to the mounting financial losses.

  • The group's executive director, Kevin Yoder, said DeJoy's Delivering for America plan and its postage increases have failed to help the service regain financial solvency.
  • They are "clearly only triggering a dramatic loss in mail volume and fueling even more debt U.S. Postal Service, "said Yoder, a former Republican congressman from Kansas.

By the numbers: The service's total operating revenue this year was $78.2 billion, roughly a $321 million or 0.4% decrease from last year.

  • Its operating expenses shot up 7.3% compared to last year, hitting $85.4 billion.
  • The total volume of mail it handled also dropped, from 127.4 billion units to 116.1 billion.

Go deeper: USPS ditches holiday surcharges despite stamp price hikes

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the volume of mail USPS handles is in the billions, not millions.

Go deeper