The Postal Service has raised the price of its "Forever" stamp by 5 cents to 55 cents, a 10 percent increase and record nominal price adjustment.
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The agency, which also announced other price increases, said it received approval for the hike in November.
The price to ship a small flat-rate box was raised to $7.90, from $7.20, while a large flat-rate box was raised by more than $1 to $19.95.
Priority Mail Express prices rose by 3.9 percent, while Priority Mail increased 5.9 percent – those prices aren’t adjusted in line with inflation, but rather with perceived market conditions. First-class mail prices rose by 10 percent.
The hikes come as the Postal Service recorded a net loss of $3.9 billion during fiscal 2018, which is an increase of more than $1 billion over the losses it suffered in 2017. Overall volume declined by 3.2 billion pieces, which includes a 3.6 percent decline in first-class mail volume – its main source of revenue.
The Postal Service was unable to pay the $6.9 billion it owed the federal government to prefund pensions and health benefits for workers, as has been the case for several years. It has more than $120 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities.
The last time the agency recorded a profit was more than a decade ago. The White House said the service has lost $65 billion since the financial crisis.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has put pressure on the mail service to address its financial woes. President Trump has personally lashed out at the courier on a number of occasions, specifically over a shipping deal it cut with e-commerce giant Amazon. The Postal Service also faces mounting competition from companies, like Amazon, developing their own delivery services, as well as from FedEx and UPS.
In December, the Trump administration released a list of proposed reforms to help the Postal Service restructure its ailing business model, including selling the rights to mailboxes to private companies. Another suggested reform involved introducing a new pricing model that eliminates across-the-board price caps and charging “market-based prices” for some mail and package items – which could result in higher package delivery costs.
The shipping and packages segment was actually a bright spot for the courier service during fiscal 2018, where revenue climbed by $2 billion – or 10 percent.
This story was originally published Jan. 25.