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November 15. 2013 10:08PM

Postal Service narrows loss in latest fiscal year, but says fix still needed

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service reported on Friday that it managed to slow the hemorrhaging of cash in its latest fiscal year, but said a legislative fix is still needed to put it on a sound financial footing.

The mail agency, which does not rely on taxpayer funds, said its loss for the 2013 fiscal year narrowed to $5 billion from nearly $16 billion in the prior year.

The U.S. Postal Service said it benefited from growth in its shipping and packages business as well as aggressive cost-cutting that included a drastic reduction in employee hours.But the agency is still struggling under the weight of heavy mandatory payments into its future retirees’ health fund, which was mandated by Congress in 2006, as well as the continued slide in first-class mail, its most profitable product.“We’ve achieved some excellent results for the year in terms of innovations, revenue gains and cost reductions, but without major legislative changes we cannot overcome the limitations of our inflexible business model,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a statement.

The U.S. Postal Service has sought legislation that would relieve the pressure of the retiree payments, shift to a five-day mail delivery service, close some rural post offices and allow it to modernize its business service offerings.

Lawmakers for years have failed to reach agreement, partly because they are reluctant to see postal services rolled back in their districts.




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