This was supposed to be the year the U.S. Postal Service broke even, according to a 10-year restructuring plan rolled out two years ago. Instead, on Tuesday USPS posted a $6.5 billion loss for the 2023 fiscal year, a disappointing result for an organization that hopes to turn a profit next year.
Total operating revenue for fiscal year 2023 was $78.2 billion, a 0.4% decrease compared to the same period last year, USPS said. Inflation was a factor pushing up costs and reduced mail volumes ate away at revenues, as first-class mail recorded the lowest volume since 1968.
The current turnaround plan was created under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who took over the USPS during the Trump administration. His controversial “Delivering for America” plan mixes price hikes and service reductions, with the goal of eliminating operating losses as the agency moves into the black.
DeJoy said he was “not happy” with the results, even though the USPS is still just in the “early stages” of a massive transformation. “Our efforts to grow revenue and reduce labor and transportation costs were simply not enough to overcome our costs to stabilize our organization, the historical inflationary environment we encountered and our inability to obtain the [Civil Service Retirement System] reform we sought,” he told the Postal Service Board of Governors.
Critics charge that DeJoy’s reforms are part of the problem. Kevin Yoder, a former Congressman who now serves as Executive Director of the advocacy group Keep US Posted, said higher prices are depressing overall shipping volumes. “Twice-annual, above-inflation postage hikes are worsening the USPS' financial woes and trapping it in quicksand, as even more mail is driven out of the system,” he said in a statement, per CBS News.