Why did the US Postal Service’s performance decline last year?

Last week, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hauled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy before it and spent the better part of five and a half hours denouncing him. In part, majority Democrats were politicking — they rehashed their calumny that DeJoy was a Trumpy mephistopheles who plotted to steal the election by delaying mail-in ballots.

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As the figure above shows, on-time delivery slid modestly in July and August and then cratered in late November and December.

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In his written testimony, DeJoy pointed to various factors that drove down USPS delivery performance: “Throughout the peak season, the Postal Service faced multiple challenges, including significant employee shortages as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple winter storms in the Northeast, capacity issues with airlifts and trucking, and a historic high level of mail and package volumes.”

Under questioning, the Postmaster General cited a factor given too little attention: The USPS was overwhelmed by a surfeit of parcels.

The USPS was built to carry paper mail, not boxes. The giant machines used to sort letter mail and postcards cannot be used to sort parcels. A USPS 18-wheel truck, DeJoy said, can carry 500,000 pieces of paper mail but only about 5,000 boxes.

Source: Why did the US Postal Service’s performance decline last year?