By Catie O'Toole | firstname.lastname@example.org
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The cost of a Forever stamp jumped 10 percent this weekend -- from 50 cents to 55 cents -- as the U.S. Postal Service continues to struggle financially.
The price increase -- the largest since 1991 -- took effect Sunday.
Although the cost to mail a 1-ounce letter is now 55 cents, the price of each additional ounce has dropped from 21 cents to 15 cents. That means it will now cost a little less -- 70 cents, instead of 71 cents -- to mail a 2-ounce stamped letter, such as a typical wedding invitation.
Priority Mail flat rate prices also have risen more than 5 percent on average, but the cost to mail a postcard remains at 35 cents.
The U.S. Postal Service is not taxpayer funded. Instead, it generates revenue from the sale of products and services.
The Postal Service lost about $3.9 billion in the 2018 fiscal year -- about $1.2 billion more than the previous year.
“Similar to the last several years, the Postal Service was unable to make the $6.9 billion in payments that were due to the federal government at the end of fiscal year 2018 to pre-fund pension and health benefits for postal retirees, without putting its ability to fulfill its primary mission at undue risk,” USPS said in a news release.
In 2018, USPS reported a 3.6 percent decline, or a drop of roughly 2.1 billion pieces of First-Class mail volume. At the same time, its package volume grew by 394 million pieces or 6.8 percent.
“Although mail volume declines were partially offset by growth in package volume, overall volume for the year declined by 3.2 billion pieces,” the release said.
The Postal Regulatory Commission approved the latest price hike in November.
Did you know?
The price of a stamp increased only 5 cents increase from 1917 to 1971. That’s the same price increase customers will see from last year to this year. In 1917, the cost of a stamp was 3 cents. By 1971, it was 8 cents.
The cost of a stamp has jumped significantly over the last three decades. In 1988, the cost of a stamp was 25 cents. In 1999, stamps cost 33 cents. In 2009, the cost of a stamp was 44 cents.
The price of stamps has increased every year except twice since 2006, when the cost was 39 cents.