Hazard lights are on for the U.S. Postal Service

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Stamping an envelope and mailing it at the post office used to be the norm. But technology and the recession are catching up with the U.S. Postal Services. On Monday, the cost of a first class stamp went up from 42 cents to 44 cents.

The hazard lights are on for the U.S. Postal service.

"The postal service is not immune to the current financial situation," said Lisse Fish. "Across the country, and it's necessary for operation costs to change our rates."

East Texans were shocked to hear the price of a first class stamp increased 2 cents Monday.

"I was unaware of that," said Ernest Gower.

Business owner Kiss Hill still sends snail mail and she said the rate hike will hurt her business.

"We do a lot of invoicing and correspondence with different companies," said Hill. "So, it of course rises my expenses."

"I don't send as much correspondence as I used to because of the cost," said Gower.

And, Gower is not alone. The postal service is seeing a steady decrease of first class mail. In the first quarter of 2008 the The U.S. Postal Service shipped out more than 9.7 million single piece letters. In the first quarter of this year that number was down to 8.8 million - a drop of almost 10 percent.

The U.S. Post Office, much like the newspaper industry, is fighting a losing battle with the internet. Think about it. When is the last time you've gone to the post office to mail off a hand written letter or a post card? More and more people are opting for the internet. It's cheaper and faster.

"I'm very concerned about this about this and hopefully...it'll level off down the road," said Gower.

The post office can continue to raise the cost of stamps as long as they don't exceed the rate of inflation from the previous year. So, in a nutshell, there is no end in sight to the rate hikes.

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