USPS Gets Approval for 10% Stamps Price Increase, Largest Since 1991
A visit to the Twitter account of the U.S. Parcel Service (USPS) reveals that the agency will be delivering nearly “16 billion pieces of cheer this season,” an impressive haul that will certainly include a few petitions to good old Saint Nick. Those letters will be enjoying their last hurrahs as 50 cent wayfarers to the North Pole, as the Postal Regulatory Commission decided Nov. 12 to increase the cost of stamps to 55 cents, a conclusion that marks the largest bump for the correspondence constants since 1991.
The U.S. Postal Service is ready to deliver nearly 16 billion pieces of cheer this holiday season — including more than 900 million packages.
— U.S. Postal Service (@USPS) November 19, 2018
The 10 percent hike will go into effect Jan. 27, so as the holiday season intensifies, the general public—through the sending of Christmas cards—will, like those courting Santa’s favor, also be calling on the 50 cent version of Forever stamps for the last time. Some end-users are bound to buy stamps in earnest so as to delay the reliance on the impending new ones, but soon enough, their finances figure to take a mini licking when the hiked-up goods become the majority offerings.
Six weeks ago, Promo Marketing looked at the call to increase costs, including in its account a statement from the USPS that announced, “The Governors believe these new rates will keep the Postal Service competitive while providing the agency with needed revenue.” That push to add cash encompassed far more than a proposed uptick for Forever stamps, as the agency’s complete set of increases—set to reflect roughly a 2.5 percent bump that mirrors the inflationary cap—could do a number on Priority Mail pieces, too.
The USPS accepted a good amount of comments on the five-cent First Class stamp proposal and on an amendment that would limit all Marketing Mail to only paper-based or printed material, no matter if the correspondence is regular or nonprofit, letter size or flat. The Nonprofit Times notes that that alteration “would impact fundraising premiums, as no merchandise or goods would be allowed, regardless of their value.” It adds that “current regulations allow any ‘mailable matter’ weighing less than 16 ounces to be mailed as Marketing Mail.” If anything comes of that latter postal matter, on which the USPS has not offered a timeline for any sort of verdict, one wonders what sort of snags it could cause the print and promotional products industries.
As we addressed in our October treatment of the call to escalate costs, the whole idea to make the public and businesses pay more for USPS services could certainly lead to added stress, as who knows what effect such relatively large jumps might have on bottom lines. From a consumer’s point of view, the five-cent elevation might not register as much of an inconvenience, but it is still another burden, no matter the size, on their finances.
It’s the surge on Priority Mail fees, however, that could really make companies become hot under the collar as the winter changes kick in. Given that USPS reported on Nov. 14 a net loss of $3.9 billion for Fiscal Year 2018, one should not find it too shocking that the regulatory commission would have chosen two days earlier to approve the price changes, but it is natural to wonder what could happen if the hikes do not prove as effective at driving down the losses as the government agency’s overseers hope they will.