(November 24, 2014) Maybe it was the election. Maybe it was the economy. Maybe it was even a sign that an organization that was left for dead is bouncing back.
Whatever the reason, the U.S. Postal Service revealed today it had a bang-up October, with domestic mail volume up nearly 7% over the same month last year, rather than the 2% decrease USPS was expecting.
The beleaguered agency had “controllable operating income” of $647 million in the first month of Fiscal Year 2015, more than double what it budgeted or what it earned last October. Controllable operating income excludes what is euphemistically referred to as prepaid retiree health benefits, which USPS has stopped paying, and accounting adjustments for the future cost of workers compensation cases.
Big growth areas
Major mail categories with significant revenue increases over October 2013 included “Permit Imprint Nonprofit Standard” (43%), Parcel Select (30%), “Permit Imprint Regular Standard” (14%), and “Permit Imprint First-Class (7%), according to an in-depth financial report also released today. Even the Periodicals class was up a bit.
In the first month with aggressive parcel rates for large business mailers, volume for Shipping & Package Services rose 14% and revenue by 12%.
Despite the higher volumes, work hours increased by less than 2% and total expenses by less than 3%.
It will take more than one strong month, however, to get one of the country’s largest employers out of the financial woods. USPS is frequently on the verge of running out of cash, and it has no ability to borrow money, even for such mission-critical needs as replacing its decrepit, inefficient delivery vehicles.