The U.S. Postal Service is one of the largest, fastest and most profitable postal organizations in the world, with more than 2.2 billion packages and a record $2.2 trillion in revenues generated annually for the federal government. But is mail volume really the only measurement of success?
It has been a few weeks since the USPS’ annual Report of Administrative Measures, which is released by Congress every November. It is a collection of key statistics that describe the nation’s postal operations:
A large portion of the public, including the majority of the U.S. population, has grown up with the USPS. A 2008 survey of 1,879 U.S. adults conducted by Gallup found that 77 percent of householders were aware that they sent the USPS a letter in 2012 and 81 percent of households know that they mail a “regular” letter during the coming seven-day period.
A survey of 1,897 Americans conducted in 2006 found that 71 percent of those polled know that “it takes a lot of postage money to send or receive mail.” Only 9% know that “I don’t feel like I pay postage,” as this survey found the first word on the survey is “I don’t.”
Since the Postal Service began operations in 1792, the Postal Board has made a remarkable record of innovation and prosperity. In fact, in 1884, Congress appropriated the first $50 million of postage revenue for the Postal Service. More than 90 years later, the Postal Service received the same amount in 2012-13.
In its 50-year history, the cost of operations has averaged less than 15 cents per mail carrier. The cost of delivering a letter on average is less than $2 to ship and then return mail is less than $9.95, less than 7 cents per page.
The annual report is a great showcase for the USPS workforce and how they have been and continue to drive the service forward. But what the report fails to highlight is the impact on the U.S. economy when Americans use USPS mail.
“Today, there are hundreds of thousands of businesses that rely on the Postal Service for mail delivery, and millions of people who are mail-dependent,” says John R. White, president of MailChimp, which specializes in delivering digital letter marketing to consumers. “If the Postal Service were to stop delivering mail to more than 10 million Americans, that would be a $2.0 billion-plus revenue cut for the U.S.
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