SIIA today expressed significant concern over new data from the U.S. Postal Service revealing a sharp decline in the volume of periodicals mailed in the first quarter of 2014. This is the first quarter following the 4.3 percent exigent rate increase that went into effect this year as part of an overall 5.9 percent rate increase.
Specifically, periodical volume decreased by 7.8 percent for the quarter, which led to a 5.3 percent revenue decrease for this mail class for the quarter. This first quarter decline in periodical volume represents the largest first quarter decline since 2009, which occurred during the height of the Great Recession.
It is troubling, but not surprising, that the exigent rate increase has led to a steep decline in volume of periodicals mailed in the U.S. and a significant drop in postal service revenue. This data provides evidence consistent with an SIIA member survey in 2013, which found that significant rate increases would lead to a reduction in mailing of periodicals.
SIIA has been actively calling for postal reform proposals that maintain a rate framework providing for reasonable and predictable increases going forward. Such increases must be coupled with increased USPS efficiency and appropriate ‘right-sizing’ of the Postal Service, while preserving service standards. Without these steps, the significant declines in volume and revenue can be expected to continue.