USPS Has Dismal Holiday, Loses $3.3B in Quarter
Decline in regular mail more than offsets gift shipping bump
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2012 11:29 AM CST
The US Post Office at Bristow, Virginia is seen on September 5, 2011.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – The US Postal Service had a jaw-droppingly ugly holiday quarter, losing $3.3 billion despite a better-than-expected surge in gift shipments, the agency announced today. That's $3 billion worse than its figure for the same period in 2010, the AP reports, and at this rate the agency expects to run out of dough by October. The problem is that traditional mail delivery continues to plummet—it fell 6% in the first fiscal quarter, which ended Dec. 31.

"Technology continues to have a major impact on how our customers use the mail," the postmaster general said, according to Reuters. "While it has helped us grow our Shipping Services businesses, it has had a significant negative impact on some of our much larger sources of revenue." Still, the Post Office would have lost only $200 million if not for payments it had to make toward the $5.5 billion it is required by law to set aside for future retiree health benefits annually, something no other government agency needs to do.