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Post Office Near First Profit Since ‘89

The post office is headed for a profit, its first since 1989.

Postmaster General Marvin Runyon said Tuesday that projections indicate the agency will end the fiscal year $1.8 billion in the black.

That’s $1.6 billion better than expected, Runyon told the postal governing board at its monthly meeting.

He also said that managers expect to finish next year more than $500 million in the black.

The post office finished 1994 with a $913 million loss, and it was $1.7 billion in the red in 1993.

Postage rates went up in January.

Traditionally, the agency makes a profit in the year after allowing an increase, breaks even the second year and then loses money in the third year before instituting another raise.

Runyon waited an extra year before imposing the most recent increase and officials had expected the profit to be small because of the rising costs during that time.

However, cost cutting combined with an increase in mail volume helped boost the financial picture.

Runyon said mail volume is also expected to break last year’s record 180 billion items.