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USPS finances

First-quarter results reported

Letter carrier walks along sidewalk.
Joanna Brown, an Alexandria, VA, letter carrier, walks her route in December.

The Postal Service has reported its financial results for fiscal year 2021’s first quarter (Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 2020). Here are some highlights:

• Revenue. Total revenue was $21.5 billion, up 11.1 percent from the same period one year earlier. Despite record election-related mail during the quarter, revenue from mail services dropped, the result of the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing mail declines. First-Class Mail revenue decreased 2.7 percent, while Marketing Mail revenue declined 5.6 percent. Shipping and packages revenue increased 42.1 percent as a result of record holiday volumes affected by the surge in online shopping associated with the pandemic.

• Volume. Total volume was approximately 36.6 billion pieces, down 3.2 percent from one year earlier. First-Class Mail volume decreased 4.1 percent, while Marketing Mail volume declined 3.9 percent. Shipping and packages volume increased 25 percent as the organization delivered a record 1.1 billion packages during the holidays. USPS doesn’t expect its package business growth over the medium term to the long term to make up for its losses in mail service revenue caused by the health crisis. Postal Service management is aggressively addressing service levels affected by the pandemic and record package volume, and service continues to improve.

• Expenses. Total operating expenses were $21.1 billion for the quarter, up 5.3 percent from the same quarter one year earlier.

• Net income. Net income for the quarter was $318 million compared with a net loss of $748 million for the same period one year earlier. Excluding a non-cash workers’ compensation fair value adjustment and a time-limited peak surcharge, the loss for the quarter would have been approximately $522 million.

“Our strong growth in package volume during the holiday quarter shows how dramatically our business and revenue mix is shifting,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. “While our positive financial results this quarter are certainly welcome, we continue to face systemic imbalances that make our current operating model unsustainable, and the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to challenge the organization. It is essential that the Postal Service adopt reforms so that we are better able to meet the changing needs of our business and residential customers, and ensure our ability to provide reliable, universal mail and package delivery for all Americans.”

The Postal Service’s Form 10-Q, available on the Financials page, has additional information.