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Monday, February 27, 2012

How Many Post Office Workers Have Been Laid Off Since Obama Took Office? (March 2012 update)

Post Office Woes...

(January 21, 2013:  Update added for December 2012 below.)

When Did the Number of Postal Workers Start to Go Down?

I was surprised to hear the recent brouhaha about the loss of 35,000 jobs in the post office only because the post office has been a job blood bath for years now.  35,000 jobs is basically a drop in the bucket for the USPS.  Let's look at the number of jobs that have been lost at the post office over the past few years.

Employment at the post office reached a peak in April 1999 with 909,000 jobs.  Here's the end of the year post office job totals since then:
  • December 2002:  819,300  (minus 89,700 from 1999 peak)
  • December 2003:  798,700  (minus 20,600)
  • December 2004:  776,400  (minus 22,300) 
  • December 2005:  775,200  (minus 1,200)
  • December 2006:  767,800  (minus 7,400)
  • December 2007:  781,700  (plus 13,900)
  • December 2008:  725,300  (minus 56,400) 
  • January 2009:     728,700  (plus 3,400) 
  • December 2009:  658,300  (minus 67,000 for all 2009)
  • December 2010:  646,800  (minus 11,500)
  • December 2011:  619,500  (minus 27,300)
  • January 2012:     619,300  (minus 200)
  • February 2012:    619,300  (even)
  • March 2012:        617,200  (minus 2,100)
  • December 2012 (latest):  602,100 (minus 15,100 since March)      
Since the peak in April 1999 until March 2012, 291,800 post office jobs have been cut.
Since Obama has been inaugurated until March 2012, 111,500 post office jobs have been cut.

Since the peak in April 1999 until December 2012, 306,900 post office jobs have been cut.
Since Obama has been inaugurated until December 2012, 126,200 post office jobs have been cut. 

Republicans Force the Post Office to "Pre-Fund" Its Retirement Accounts

One of the problems that the post office has had is that it has been forced to pre-fund its pension:
In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.  This law requires the Postal Service to do something that no other business or government agency has to do–pre-fund its FUTURE retiree health care benefits.  This is a 75 year liability that has to be paid in 10 years.  The Postal Service makes a payment of approximately $5.5 billion on September 30 at the end of every fiscal year to meet this obligation.  The Post Office has been paying these benefits the past four years into a trust fund for employees who have not even been born yet.  This is the burden that is creating the “financial crisis” for the Post Office.  The recession that has gripped America the past few years has undoubtedly affected the Postal Service, but even in the worst economic times since the great depression, the USPS has had a net profit of $611 million dollars.  Unfortunately, the red ink associated with the post office is the mandated pre-funding since 2006.
That quote was taken from THIS great story about the post office "crisis" that was written in September 2011.  There are many reasons that we need a government post office, many mentioned in that article.  But we also have many, many small businesses, people selling on eBay and through small online stores, who deliver their goods through USPS.  As USPS charges so much less than FedEx and UPS, it is unclear whether these small businesses could stay in business if they had to pay UPS or FedEx rates.

In any event, the Post Office is under fire by the privatization demons of the Republican party.. for no obvious good reason, but for the simple reason that there is no money to be made for rich people to get richer under a government-run Post Office.  


  1. An you are correct They are attacking USPS for 2 reasons
    One is they want to go after 2 of the largest Unions in the country APWU & NALC
    Two Get rid of the Postal System to help make UPS & FedEx Two overly priced private mail services become even more profitable with no USPS competition to stand in their way of making as much profit off the mail service as Banks, Insurance Co, Corporate America & Wall Street have done everywhere else

    1. We need usps for certain business, Hower, the employess head counts need to cut or even more. This new generation does not need to send mail, and pay bills online and more others activity online... and more workers and less work.
      It's totally nonsense

      And alot of private jobs payrate and health care, and bennefit have been cutting down, But USPS salary keep get rate yearly,

      Most positions in USPS do not require technical skills, but the start rate are high a normal skill job.

      The minium hour $21 dollar 2x time or than the minium than big city minium payrate.

      American need to get rid uninion, soon United states will be same the problem as Europe.

      A good example: GM car maker... even after the reorganized.

      USPS need to get rid the Union adn cut half employees head counts and clear house..

      USPS get not complete with Fedex. or UPS. private company well manage. UPS workers are work every hard in every minute and payrate 40 percent in the similar position less than USPS and less benefit and no pension....etc

      USPS revenue keep drop therefore, not enought work for employees. USPS can not survice if USPS is private company.

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