Dec 4, 2018

Treasury report urges USPS to raise package prices in blow to Amazon

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The financially struggling U.S. Postal Service should raise prices for shipping nonessential packages, recommends a newly released report from a Treasury Department task force.

Why it matters: President Trump created the commission after criticizing Amazon for allegedly underpaying the USPS for package shipments and referring to the USPS as Amazon's "Delivery Boy." Stocks from Amazon, UPS, USPS and stamps.com all dropped after the report was released.

The backdrop: Last month, the USPS reported FY18 results with an overall volume decline of 3.2 billion pieces and a net loss of $3.9 billion. Revenue was up $1 billion from last year because of the shipping and packages sector — a 10% increase from last year.

What they're saying
"Today’s report contains achievable recommendations that fulfill the President’s goal of placing the USPS on a path to sustainability, while protecting taxpayers from undue financial burdens and providing them with necessary mail services.”
— Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
“The United States Postal Service as currently structured is financially unsustainable. I appreciate Secretary Mnuchin and the Postal Task Force’s effort to accurately assess the Postal Service’s financial reality and propose viable solutions without relying on a taxpayer bailout.”
— Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Go deeper: Trump hates Amazon, not Facebook

Go deeper

HBCUs are missing from the discussion on venture capital's diversity

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Venture capital is beginning a belated conversation about its dearth of black investors and support of black founders, but hasn't yet turned its attention to the trivial participation of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as limited partners in funds.

Why it matters: This increases educational and economic inequality, as the vast majority of VC profits go to limited partners.

Unemployment rate falls to 13.3% in May

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May, with 2.5 million jobs gained, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The far better-than-expected numbers show a surprising improvement in the job market, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The difficulty of calculating the real unemployment rate

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Note: Initial traditional state claims from the weeks of May 23 and 30, continuing traditional claims from May 23. Initial PUA claims from May 16, 23, and 30, continuing PUA and other programs from May 16; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The shocking May jobs report — with a decline in the unemployment rate to 13.3% and more than 2 million jobs added — destroyed expectations of a much worse economic picture.

Why it matters: Traditional economic reports have failed to keep up with the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic and have made it nearly impossible for researchers to determine the state of the U.S. labor market or the economy.