Dec. 23, 2021

USPS Maintains Strong Service Performance for First-Class and Marketing Mail During Busiest Week of the Year Despite Industry-Wide Delays

  • 8.9 billion mail pieces and packages accepted for delivery since Thanksgiving
  • 2.7 days, on average, to deliver a mailpiece across the network as mail and package volume surges ahead of Dec. 25

WASHINGTON, DC — The United States Postal Service reported new service delivery performance metrics showing ongoing strong service for First-Class Mail and Marketing Mail, with a slight decline for Periodicals through the first 11 weeks of the fiscal first quarter. Consistent with the rest of the shipping industry, the organization is experiencing delays in both ground and air transportation, which impacted service performance across the network during the week of Dec. 11-17 — the busiest mail and shipping week of the year. However, the Postal Service’s mitigation plans are performing well, enabling the organization to recover quickly and maintain high service performance scores as mail and package volume surged.

Since Thanksgiving, the Postal Service has accepted 8.9 billion pieces of mail and packages for delivery and anticipates it will deliver more than 12 billion by New Year’s Day.

First quarter-to-date service performance scores covering the period Oct. 1 through Dec. 17 included:

  • First-Class Mail: 90.1 percent of First-Class Mail delivered on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 1.6 percentage points from the fourth quarter.
  • Marketing Mail: 91.8 percent of Marketing Mail delivered on time against the USPS service standard, consistent with performance from the fourth quarter.
  • Periodicals: 81.2 percent of Periodicals delivered on time against the USPS service standard, a slight decrease of 1.56 percent compared to performance from the fourth quarter.
  • Overall, the average number of days to deliver a mailpiece across the network was 2.7 days.

One of the goals of Delivering for America, the Postal Service’s 10-year plan for achieving financial sustainability and service excellence, is to meet or exceed 95 percent on-time service performance for all mail and shipping products once all elements of the plan are implemented. Service performance is defined by the Postal Service as the time it takes to deliver a mailpiece or package from its acceptance into our system through its delivery, as measured against published service standards.

The Postal Service’s preparations for the 2021 holiday peak season included:

  • The conversion of 63,000 pre-career employees into career positions and the onboarding of more than 185,000 employees since the beginning of last fiscal year, including the backfilling of the 63,000 pre-career employees and the national drive to add an additional 40,000 seasonal hires;
  • The leasing of 13 million square feet of additional space across more than 100 locations, including over 50 annexes with multiyear leases to address year-round space constraints due to parcel growth; and the installation of new processing equipment to accommodate higher volumes reflecting customers’ delivery needs.
  • The installation of 112 new package sorting machines, reflecting part of the $40 billion of planned investments under the 10-year Delivering for America plan. Additionally, more than 50 package systems capable of sorting large packages have been deployed. As a result of an organization-wide focus on improving operations and strategic investments, the Postal Service has boosted daily processing capacity by 13 million packages.

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



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