Postal Service Cutbacks Mean Slower Mail in 2012

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Say goodbye to next-day delivery on stamped letters.

The U.S. Postal Service warned back in September that ongoing financial difficulties could potentially lead to the closure of more than 250 mail-processing facilities, which would precipitate a slowdown of first-class mail delivery. Now it looks like that doomsday scenario will indeed come to pass.

The Postal Service, which posted a $5 billion loss in the 2011 fiscal year, is set to unveil today the details of its billions of dollars in budget cutbacks. In addition to putting thousands of Postal Service employees out of work, it will also mean that the delivery time of stamped first-class mail will be reduced from 1-3 days to 2-3 days. In other words, if you need to send a Mother’s Day card or a rent check, you’ll need to allow at least two days for it to arrive.

That’s bad news for procrastinators: According to the Associated Press, 42% of first-class mail currently arrives the next day, but when the new changes take effect next spring, about half of all first-class mail will arrive in two days’ time, and most remaining letters will take three days.

That’s not the only change at the Postal Service that will be affecting consumers next year. Since last summer the Postal Service has been planning the closure of 3,700 post offices across the country, and it has already announced that the cost of a first-class stamp will be rising to 45 cents on Jan. 22 – the first price increase since May 2009.

The net result is that in 2012 mailing a letter will be slower and more expensive.

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