The U.S. Postal Service on Thursday reported a $3.2 billion loss for the first quarter of 2012, $1 billion more than during the same period last year.
Postal officials, who have forecast a record $14 billion loss by the end of the year, used the bad financial news to step up pressure on Congress to pass legislation allowing the agency’s cost-cutting efforts to move forward.
“We are aggressively pursuing new revenue streams and reducing costs in areas within our control,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a statement. “These actions are not enough to return the Postal Service to profitability.”
The Postal Service continues to be hit by declining mail volume and mandates that it pre-pay into a health fund for retirees. The agency is seeking authorization from Congress to eliminate Saturday service and reduce health and labor costs. The Senate in April passed legislation that would provide an $11 billion cash infusion but delay a move to five-day service.
A more aggressive cost-cutting measure is pending in the House.
To placate lawmakers representing rural areas, postal officials announced Wednesday that they are abandoning plans to close thousands of rural post offices. Under a new strategy, hours would be reduced at 13,000 rural post offices.