Inflation hits the mailbox: Postage stamp prices are rising, again
Stamp prices are set to tick up.
The US Postal Service said Monday that it filed a notice with its regulators to increase prices on first-class mail stamps to 66 cents from 63 cents.
If approved, the change would take effect in July, raising the cost of mailing a first-class letter by about 5.4%. The Postal Service said the hike was necessary to offset a rise in operating expenses.
Surging prices have dented business across the global economy over the past two years, pushing up workers’ wages and increasing the costs of doing business. Although inflation has been cooling over the past nine months — prices were up 5% last month on an annual basis — it remains above the central bank’s target of around 2%.
“These price adjustments are needed to provide the Postal Service with much needed revenue,” the agency said in a statement.
If the latest hike is approved, it would amount to a 32% increase over the past four years.
Domestic postcards will also increase from 48 cents to 51 cents, and international postcards from $1.45 to $1.50.
It’s rare, but not unheard of, for the regulators to decline USPS requests; they did so in 2010. The Postal Regulatory Commission denied a price hike because, according to its statement at the time, USPS “failed both to quantify the impact of the recession on its finances and to show how its rate request relates to the resulting loss of mail volume.”
First-class mail is becoming a smaller part of the Postal Service’s business because of online communication. The number of individual letters sent each year has fallen by about half in the past decade.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, appointed during the Trump administration, has pursued sweeping changes during his tenure to try to bolster the agency’s finances. USPS expects to lose $4.5 billion in 2023.