Agency approves plan to hike US stamp prices to 73 cents

By Thomson Reuters May 31, 2024 | 2:17 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A request by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to raise prices of first-class mail stamps to 73 cents from 68 cents effective July 14 has been approved, regulators said Friday.

The plan, announced in April and approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, will raise overall mailing services product prices by 7.8%. USPS said this month it is also seeking an average 25% price hike for high-volume shippers to enter packages for regional delivery through its Parcel Select service.

USPS in November reported a $6.5 billion yearly net loss as first-class mail fell to the lowest volume since 1968. Stamp prices are up 36% over the last four years since early 2019 when they were 50 cents.

USPS has been aggressively hiking stamp prices and is in the middle of a 10-year restructuring plan announced in 2021 that aims to eliminate $160 billion in predicted losses over the next decade.

USPS has said it expects its “new pricing policy to generate $44 billion in additional revenue” by 2031.

First-class mail volume fell 6.1% in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2023 to 46 billion pieces and is down 53% since 2006 — to the lowest volume since 1968.

First-class mail, used by most people to send letters and pay bills, is the highest revenue-generating mail class, accounting for $24.5 billion, or 31% of USPS 2023 revenue.

In April 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden signed legislation providing USPS with about $50 billion in financial relief over a decade.

Earlier this month, U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy agreed to pause planned further consolidation of the postal service’s processing network until at least January after a bipartisan group of senators raised concerns about the impact on mail deliveries.

DeJoy said the change would delay USPS cost savings of $133 million to $177 million. Senator Gary Peters said he would keep pushing DeJoy and the USPS board of governors “for a plan that won’t interfere with critical mail service.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Diane Craft)