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U.S. Postal Service to review, possibly close up to 3,700 post offices nationwide

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In the face of an ever-growing digital world and the continued popularity of email, trips to the post office have become less of a necessity, and the United States Postal Service has continued to struggle.

Today, the USPS announced a list of nearly 3,700 Post Office retail locations across the country that are on the chopping block for review and possible closure in the near future.

In a statement found on the USPS official website, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe addressed the Postal Service’s current condition.

“Today, more than 35 percent of the Postal Service’s retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and usps.com, open 24/7,” said Donahoe.  “Our customer’s habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business.”

In the first business quarter of this year, which ended on March 31, the USPS reported a loss of almost $2.2 billion, cnn.com reported.  In 2010, the USPS suffered a net loss of nearly $8.5 billion.

The closure of 3,700 post offices, or roughly 12 percent of the 32,000 post offices that are currently in operation, would save the USPS an estimated $200 million in labor and operational costs.  However, according to Dean Granholm, vice president of delivery and post office operations, the closings could cost the jobs of about 3,000 postmasters, 500 supervisors and another 500 to 1,000 clerks.

Nearly 3,000, or about 85 percent, of the post offices that have come under review make less than $27,500 annually.  According to the Postal Service, many of those offices have so little business that workers average less than two hours of work per day and average sales are less than $50 a day.

In an effort to combat the closures and help the small towns that are most likely be affected, the USPS has announced a plan for what they call “village post offices,” which would be operated by local businesses and would offer postal products and services such as stamps and flat-rate packaging.  According to Donahoe, this concept could help small businesses across the country.

“Many of these general stores are hanging on for dear life out there,” Donahoe told cnn.com.  “They can take the money we give them to pay the rent and pay the light bill.  We think it’s a real win-win proposal.”

Although the 3,700 postal stations are only being put under review and there is no guarantee that all will be shut down, no doubt people across the country will find the possible closing of their local post office disappointing.  However, under any other business circumstance, paying employees a full day’s wage for only two hours of work while the business loses money is tough to justify.   The USPS is simply changing its business model to help it survive in the changing world of the way people get their mail.  According to Donahoe, despite these changes, customer service will continue to say the same.

“The Postal Service of the future will be smaller, leaner and more competitive and it will continue to drive commerce, serve communities and deliver value,” said Donahoe.  “By working with third-party retailers, we’re creating easier, more convenient access to our products and services when and where our customers want them.”

The only post office put under review in the immediate San Diego area is the Marine Corps recruit depot, but a complete list of all post offices looking at closure can be found online.

photos courtesy of Keith011764 and MoneyBlogNewz via flickr

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