U.S.P.S. Loses $2B This Spring

WASHINGTON (AP) -

The U.S. Postal Service lost $2 billion this spring despite increasing its volume and charging consumers more money to send mail, officials said Monday.

The loss for the spring quarter, which ended June 30, was significantly higher than the $740 million loss for the same three-month period last year. The agency blamed increases in compensation and benefit costs, and said it would be unable to make a congressionally mandated payment of $5.7 billion this September for health benefits for future retirees. The loss came despite a 2 percent increase in operating revenue compared to last spring.

“Due to continued losses and low levels of liquidity, we’ve been extremely conservative with our capital, spending only what is deemed essential to maintain existing infrastructure,” said Joseph Corbett, the Postal Service’s chief financial officer.

The Postal Service is an independent agency; it receives no tax dollars for its day-to-day operations, but is subject to congressional control. It has asked to end Saturday deliveries, a request that is opposed by postal unions.