Weekly US Mail Traffic Report – December 20, 2021
USPS Has a Pretty Bad Week
“Pretty bad” is really a bit generous. The Postal Service showed the worst delivery performance on letters and flats we’ve seen this year, by quite a margin. And a lot of that late mail was quite late. This is tracking professionally prepared, presorted, Full-Service mail. It is difficult to measure the performance of point-to-point hand prepared mail – the proverbial Xmas card from Granny, but experience tells us that kind of mail suffers much more than commercial mail. I’d leave a spot clear on the mantle for January Christmas cards.
First-Class Letters were on time 72.1% of the time based on previous delivery service standards, dropping a full 4 points from the prior week, and registering a 6-month low. I’m not sure how to define bottom dropping out…this kind of feels like it. Against the new standards, First-Class letters were on time just 81.5% of the time, a 5-point drop. These are not isolated weeks; this is a trend. Service has been getting worse every week since November 8. Using these same measures, First-Class flats were a bit worse than the prior week with on-time deliveries 82.43% of the time, vs the old standards, and 88.00% vs the new standards. 7.4% were more than 5-days late.
Marketing Mail Letters were on time 92.28% of the time, a slip from the prior week, and year’s worst. Marketing Mail flats were delivered on time 86.73% of the time, pretty much a dead heat with the week before. 6.15% were more than 5 days late.
Average Intra-SCF delivery time was 2.51 days for Marketing Mail letters, 2.59 days for Marketing Mail flats. Both are worse than the prior week, but not precipitously.
Slowest SCFs for Intra-SCF letters, delivery week of 12/13: (10,000 pieces minimum)
· Portland, ME: 6.07 days
· Omaha, NE: 5.43 days
· Boise, ID: 5.31 days
· Gulf Port, MS: 1.34 days
· San Jose, CA: 1.46 days
· Van Nuys, CA: 1.49 days
A letter from California to Maryland, on average, took:
· First-Class: 3.89 days
· Marketing Mail: 8.30 days
Statistically, not a good week. Probably a lot worse for personal mail. I’m sure it will recover, but when, and how strongly is the question.
Graph of the week:
Ever wonder what lowered expectations look like? Here you go. The top graph is First-Class letter performance under the prior standards. The bottom graph is the same mail judged by the October 1, 2021, standards. In the end, it’s trends that count – and, to quote Huey Lewis (no relation), “Sometimes, bad is bad.”
All figures based on qualified pieces tracked by SnailWorks. For more detailed information, subscribe to the SnailWorks newsletter.