The Postal Service reported a $3.1 billion loss for first half of 2013. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
The U.S. Postal Service reported a $1.9 billion loss for the second quarter this fiscal year, down from $3.2 billion for the same period last year.
For the first half of fiscal 2013, which started in October, the Postal Service has lost a total of $3.1 billion, compared with $6.5 billion last year, according to figures presented Friday at a meeting of the postal board of governors, which oversees the agency.
While revenues for the second quarter, which ended March 30, increased slightly from $16.2 billion last year to $16.4 billion this year, mail volume dropped from 39.4 billion pieces to 38.8 billion pieces. The volume of first-class mail, the Postal Service’s most profitable line, fell 4.3 percent in the first half of the fiscal year, while first-class mail revenue dipped from $15.1 billion to $14.7 billion. That loss, however, was offset by increases in standard mail and the Postal Service’s relatively strong package business. Second-quarter expenses decreased from $16.6 billion last year to $16.4 billion.
One reason last year’s results were so much worse is that the Postal Service defaulted on two payments of roughly $5.5 billion each that was to pre-fund future retirees’ health care. One of those payments had been deferred from the previous year.
The agency will owe another $5.6 billion payment in September that it is expected to default on.
The agency continues to press Congress to pass a postal reform bill to bring it long-term stability, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe said in a news release. The agency recently updated a five-year business plan that outlines “an achievable roadmap” to that goal, Donahoe said. “The major elements of the plan must be pursued and executed within a short window of opportunity to avoid unsustainable losses and potentially becoming a long-term burden to the American taxpayer.”