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U.S. Postal Service reports $5-billion yearly loss

U.S. Postal Service reports $5-billion yearly loss
The U.S. Postal Service on Friday reported its seventh-straight net yearly loss. The agency said it lost $5 billion in the last fiscal year in spite of improved revenue and productivity. Above, packages wait to be sorted in Atlanta in February. (David Goldman/Associated Press)

The beleaguered U.S. Postal Service on Friday reported a $5-billion loss in the last fiscal year and again urged Congress to take legislative action that would help the agency shore up its finances.

The $5-billion loss during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 comes even as revenue and productivity have improved, the agency said. It's the seventh-straight yearly net loss for the agency, which has seen mail volume drop precipitously in recent years.

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Since 2006, the agency has cut its expenses by $15 billion annually, but first-class mail volume has continued to drop.

"We’ve achieved some excellent results for the year in terms of innovations, revenue gains and cost reductions, but without major legislative changes we cannot overcome the limitations of our inflexible business model,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said.
While package and standard mail volumes increased, the agency's most profitable product, first-class mail, declined by 2.8 billion pieces. 
In an effort to become more profitable, the Postal Service has focused on developing its package services business. Those efforts seem to be working. Revenue from that business grew 8%, reaching $923 million in the last fiscal year. Its package services now account for 19% of its revenue. 
The Postal Service has proposed a number of reforms intended to give it more flexibility over its business. They include restructuring its healthcare plans, lowering future retirement pension payments and adjusting its delivery frequency. 

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