The Margin: USPS is hiring 10,000 seasonal employees and scrapping holiday surcharges


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The U.S. Postal Service is delivering some good news this week. 

The December holidays are on the horizon, and the Postal Service is ready to meet the demand. USPS announced on Tuesday that it’s hiring 10,000 seasonal workers and using 395 new package-sorting machines to help transport packages, greeting cards and other pieces of mail across the country during the 2023 holiday rush.

What’s more, USPS won’t levying any additional holiday surcharges this year, meaning there will be no additional fees for residential-area delivery, for Saturday delivery or for minimum volumes. 

“Our 2022 peak season was a tremendous success. We are ready to deliver for the holidays in a superior and routine manner,” Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said in a statement. “We have been planning early and leveraging investments in our people, infrastructure, transportation and technology made possible by the Delivering for America plan. And with no holiday surcharges, we are strongly positioned to be America’s most affordable delivery provider this holiday season.”

The Postal Service has been ramping up its competition with FedEx
and UPS
to deliver packages more cheaply. General ground rates for FedEx and UPS have risen 4.9% each year from 2015 to 2021, the Wall Street Journal reported, and jumped 5.9% in 2022 and 6.9% in 2023. So the Postal Service rolled out USPS Ground Advantage, a rebranded service that ships smaller packages of up to 70 pounds across the country in two to five business days starting at $4.75. 

USPS said that it processed more than 11.7 billion packages and pieces of mail during the 2022 holiday season, claiming that it took just 2.5 days on average to deliver a piece of mail or a package to its intended destination.

This year, the Postal Service is talking up a few investments to keep the 2023 holiday season delivering what Americans want, including: 

  • Hiring 10,000 seasonal employees, which is down from 28,000 last year. The smaller number is the result of the USPS converting more than 150,000 pre-career positions into full-time jobs since October 2020, it said.

  • Utilizing 395 new package-sorting machines that let postal workers sort and process packages of all sizes more quickly and reliably, USPS said. Of those machines — a part of a $40 billion investment in new technology and facilities — 348 have been rolled out since early 2021, with an additional 47 machines going online ahead of this holiday season. 

  • Moving more mail and packages via more reliable ground transportation, versus relying on more expensive air transportation. Currently, 95% of first-class mail and more than 95% of first-class packages,are moved through the revamped ground-transportation system, the USPS said.

  • Expanding its daily package-processing capacity to approximately 70 million, or 10 million more than last year’s daily capacity. And the Postal Service noted that it has almost tripled its daily package-processing capacity since 2020 as demand to have more things delivered to customers’ homes has spiked.

The changes are also part of the Postal Service’s 10-year plan to achieve “service excellence” and eliminate a projected $160 billion in financial losses over the next decade.

This news hit the same day that Target
announced that it will hire 100,000 seasonal workers, who will join its more than 400,000 existing employees for the holiday season. And Amazon
also revealed Tuesday that it’s hiring 250,000 seasonal employees for the holidays, or 67% more than a year ago.

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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