The United States Postal Service (USPS) remains an integral part of the economy and the country’s infrastructure even as the popularity of electronic payments and digital transactions have dramatically reduced the volume of mail processed by the USPS.
Of the more than 129 billion pieces of mail delivered in 2020, the most widely used service of the USPS is its first class mail service. As the volume of all mail has been dwindling, so has first class mail, falling from over 103 billion pieces in 2000 to just over 52 billion pieces in 2020, roughly a 50% drop in twenty years.
As the volume has decreased, so have the number of postal employees. There were nearly 700,000 postal employees in 2006, falling to less than 496,000 in 2020.
There have been numerous rate increases over the years, with the most recent rate increase up to 55 cents for a 1 ounce letter in January 2019.