Weekly US Mail Traffic Report – December 20, 2021
December 20, 2021   Dave Lewis

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

The fastest:
·        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.”

Dec 20

All figures based on qualified pieces tracked by SnailWorks. For more detailed information, subscribe to the SnailWorks newsletter.