AP NEWS

USPS raising prices of shipping boxes, envelopes, stamps

January 4, 2019

HUNTINGTON — Jonathan Jones, of Huntington, waited in a short line at the Veterans Memorial Boulevard post office in Huntington on Thursday to buy 10 books of first-class Forever stamps.

“Stamps are going up soon, so I thought I would get several books before they get more expensive,” he said as he left the post office.

Jennifer Scraggs, also of Huntington, was mailing some bills and was unaware of the upcoming increase in prices.

“Guess I better go back in and get some more stamps,” she said.

The U.S. Postal Service says the price of a first-class Forever stamp will increase from 50 cents to 55 cents on Jan. 27 — an increase of 10 percent. The 2019 stamp price hike, accompanied by other mailing and shipping increases, is the biggest price increase by total cents in the history of the Postal Service.

Approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, the price increases are an effort to keep the post office competitive while providing the agency with needed revenue to offset record operating losses in 2018 totaling nearly $4 billion.

On Wednesday, the Postal Service reported a financial loss for the 12th straight year, citing declines in mail volume and the costs of its pension and health care obligations. A task force was formed to make recommendations to help the Postal Service, which hasn’t been profitable in more than a decade.

The report showed that in 2018 first-class mail volumes declined by about 2.1 billion pieces, or 3.6 percent, while package volumes grew by 394 million pieces, or 6.8 percent, continuing a multiyear trend of declining mail volumes and increasing package volumes. Overall volume for the year declined as more and more people go to online bill paying and emails.

“The U.S. Postal Service is currently reviewing the recommendations in the Task Force report. The recommendations contained in the report should be evaluated together with legislative and regulatory reforms to address our urgent financial challenges,” said Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan in a prepared statement.

“Reforms are necessary to enable the Postal Service to further reduce costs, grow revenue,

compete more effectively, function with greater flexibility to adapt to a dynamic marketplace and to prudently invest in our future,” Brennan added. “The Postal Service will remain focused on aggressively managing our business. We will take all appropriate actions within our control to ensure that we can continue to fulfill our primary mission to provide prompt, reliable and efficient service to American businesses and consumers in all communities in our country.”

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

For more information about the Postal Service and postal price increases, visit USPS.com.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

U.S. POSTAL SERVICE PRICE INCREASES

The following U.S. Postal Service price increases take effect Jan. 27:

• First-class Forever stamps will increase from 50 cents to 55 cents

• Small flat-rate box from $7.20 to $7.90

• Medium flat-rate box from $13.65 to $14.35

• Large flat-rate box from $18.90 to $19.95.

• Regular flat-rate envelope from $6.70 to $7.35

• Large flat-rate envelope from $7 to $7.65

• Padded flat-rate envelope from $7.25 to $8

AP RADIO
Update hourly