Post Office Net Loss Narrows To $562 Million, While Revenue Drops

By Tomi KilgoreMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

The U.S. Postal Service reported Wednesday a fiscal second-quarter net loss that narrowed to $562 million from $2.04 billion a year ago, as expenses for mandatory retiree benefit programs declined by $1.2 billion and as workers compensation expenses fell $1.1 billion. On a "controllable" basis, which adjusts for items outside of management control, net income for the quarter to March 31 was $12 million, down from $576 million a year ago, primarily because of the expiration in April 2016 of the temporary price increase for certain stamps. Operating revenue fell 2.7% to $17.26 billion, as an 8.4% decline in first-class mail, a 7.6% drop for marketing mail, a 4.8% slip for international and a 9.1% fall for periodicals offset an 11.5% increase for shipping and packages and a 4.8% rise in other revenue. ""We are addressing declines in letter mail volumes by aggressively managing our work hours and compensation expense, while balancing and fine-tuning the resources needed to accommodate growth in package volumes and to optimize customer service," said Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett. Postmaster General Megan Brennan said the postal service's path forward depends on the passage of H.R. 756, a bill to "restore the financial solvency and improve the governance" of the U.S. post office, into law, and on a favorable outcome of the 10-year pricing system review.

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