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OIG report looks at local mail volume levels

To date, mail volume information has only been available on an aggregate nationwide level. But a new report from the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General published today takes a closer look at mail volume on a local level. The report, “Declines in U.S. Postal Service Mail Volume Vary Widely across the United States,” presents very interesting information.

According to the report, over the last 20 years, all parts of the country have not seen a universal change in mail volume. For example, the report states:

In Dallas, the percent of FCM [First Class Mail] volume lost was far greater than 61 percent, while in other areas—like Charleston, WV—it was close to zero.

The report further notes:

Even in areas where mail volumes have declined the most, they appear to be bottoming out at a minimum level in most regions, indicating that a new base level of demand might remain even with all of the factors that have caused it to decline.

The OIG states:

Because there is no average mail customer, strategic planning designed around average mail volume data will inevitably result in inefficient solutions. The Postal Service would benefit by examining the widely varying levels of demand for FCM and using that information to develop its operational and customer service plans.

The findings from this report suggest that the national averages are not good indicators of what is going on at the local level, and cuts to the network without understanding the underlying demand could be counterproductive.

The full report is linked here, and is worth a read if you have time.

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