U.S. Post Office's Loss Nearly Triples, While Sales Edge Higher

By Markets MarketWatch Pulse

The U.S. Postal Services reported a fiscal third-quarter loss that widened to $1.57 billion from $586 million a year ago. The widening was due primarily to a $1.6 billion unfavorable change in workers' compensation expense as a result of interest rate changes. Revenue rose 7.1% to $17.7 billion, but was reduced by about $450 million by the expiration of an exigent surcharge. Total volume declined 0.2% to 36.73 billion pieces, as a 1.7% increase in standard mail volume, a 14% increase in shipping and packages and 5% growth in international was offset by a 3.4% decline in first-class mail and a 3.8% drop in periodicals. "Although the Postal Service achieved strong results in package delivery and Standard Mail volumes, only a slight increase in total revenue was recorded due to a mandated price reduction earlier this year," said Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett. "We incurred a net loss resulting, in part, from continued decreases in first-class mail volume and systemic financial imbalances associated with our retiree health benefit prefunding requirements."

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