Iowa post offices seeing less business - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa post offices seeing less business

by John Wilmer

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Bad news on the economy is being delivered right to people's front doors. The US Postal Service announced a loss of almost three billion dollars for the 2008 fiscal year. The loss occurred despite more than $2 billion in cost cutting measures.

The US Postal Service is the barometer of the economy. When the economy does well so does the post office, but when the economy is in trouble big losses happen. Postage rates will go up for priority and express mail in January and the price of a stamp may go up once again this spring.

It's a business that never slows down. The US Postal Service handles billions of pieces of mail every year, but this year more businesses and people are finding alternative ways to send their messages.

"We've seen a nine percent decrease in our total delivered volume, which amounts to over 3.2 million pieces of mail, plus we've also seen a decrease in our revenue as well," Waterloo Postmaster Greg Barnes said.

Some customers have a hard time believing one of the largest employers in the country can feel the impact of a slowing economy.

"Yeah, that is really surprising to me actually, because....I don't know. I don't know what people are doing with their mail if it's not coming through here," Waterloo resident Margo Conaway said.

"More and more people are using the internet whether it's paying bills. We also have companies that are using the internet as much as before, particularly publishing companies," Barnes said.

Area post offices are also trying to find ways to cut costs, everything from cutting employee hours to finding more efficient routes for mail carriers.

"Even though our volume is down, nationally the volume is down even further and I think that is a reflection that the state of Iowa maybe in a better economic situation than some of the other states," Barnes said.

The Waterloo Post Office is not the only one to be hit hard. The Dubuque Post Office saw a six percent decrease in delivered mail and Iowa City saw a five percent decrease.

Online Reporter John Wilmer

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