By the Numbers: U.S. Postal Service Prepared for 2021 Holiday Season

Nov. 18, 2021

The Postal Service began planning for this holiday season in February, earlier than any other year. Our entire team — 644,000 strong — is focused on delivering for our nation.

We’ve accelerated key processing, logistics and delivery investments to support higher volumes delivery demands during the holidays and ensure cards, letters and packages arrive on time. Our proactive measures not only correspond to challenges faced last year but also align to our Delivering for America plan which includes $40 billion of planned investment over 10 years. Our organization is executing on strategies to pull together people, facilities, technology, equipment and transportation into a well-integrated and streamlined mail and package network.

With these investments and preparations, several outlined below, the Postal Service is well-positioned to ensure holiday cards and gifts arrive on time.

Our advice to consumers this holiday remains the same as always: Plan ahead and mail early, particularly when shipping long distance.

Key numbers at a glance:

People: Stabilizing the workforce and preparing for pandemic-related challenges

  • 40,000 seasonal workers are being hired with the help of over 800 hiring events. Peak season employees will begin work earlier than last year, allowing for more time, training and experience on the job prior to volume increases.
  • 33,000 non-career employees will be converted to career status by peak season. This will improve retention and will allow us to continue to onboard new employees for a long-term career with the Postal Service.

Equipment: Expedited handling and sortation of increased package volumes

  • 112 new state-of-the-art package sorting machines are expected to be deployed across the nation; 97 have been installed as of November 8. These machines, which add to the Postal Service’s approximately 500 existing package sorting machines, can process thousands of packages an hour and are up to 12 times faster than manual sorting.
  • 50+ additional package systems capable of sorting large packages are expected to be deployed prior to December.
  • 4.5 million additional packages can be sorted each day using this new equipment.

Facilities: More space to resolve bottlenecks and improve the flow of mail and packages

  • 100+ processing, logistics and delivery annexes have been leased in locations where our operations require additional space during peak season. This includes 40+ multiyear annexes in locations across the nation where we are experiencing year-round space constraints due to parcel growth. This adds an additional 11.5+ million square feet to our footprint.

Transportation: Ensuring reliable transportation options

  • Nearly 3,300 trailers have been leased just for peak season.
  • Diversifying volume traveling across the air network among additional air carriers, increasing air capacity by 12% as compared to last peak season, and leveraging more reliable surface transportation providers.
  • Expanded the surface transfer center network by adding 1.6 million additional square feet and over 300 dock doors to, among other things, improve cycle times, increase long-haul transportation utilization, and mitigate driver shortage issues.