WASHINGTON - The Postal Service reported a loss of $3.8 billion last year, despite cutting 40,000 full-time positions and taking other steps to reduce costs.
The loss was $1 billion more than in the year before.
“Our 2009 fiscal year proved to be one of the most challenging in the history of the Postal Service,’’ chief financial officer Joseph Corbett said. He blamed a “deep economic recession, and to a lesser extent the ongoing migration of mail to electronic alternatives.’’
The post office has been struggling to cope with a decline in mail volume as use of the Internet grows.
The recession has also triggered a decline in the amount of advertising and other mail that is sent. Total mail volume was 177.1 billion pieces, compared to 202.7 billion pieces in 2008, a decline of almost 13 percent.
For the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the agency had income of $68.1 billion, $6.8 billion less than in 2008. Expenditures were down $5.9 billion, to $71.8 billion.
Postmaster General John Potter is seeking permission from Congress to reduce the frequency of mail delivery from six days a week to five, which could save $3.5 billion annually.
Potter has said the post office does not plan to raise rates next year on items the public uses heavily, such as first-class mail.
For the current fiscal year, the post office estimates it will have a further decline in income of $2.2 billion and a net loss of $7.8 billion.