October 23, 2023   Dave Lewis


I want to start by saying that the wheels are not coming off the bus.  Yes, performance was worse in three of the four categories we measure.  First-Class flats indeed had a better week than the previous week, with a still dismal 79.7% on-time percentage.  But it’s not suddenly taking months to deliver mail…the decline in performance is more subtle than that, and in my experience ebbs and flows over time.  I’m just puzzled as to where USPS gets their tracking data. 

In a recent news release, USPS bragged about how 91% of First-Class Mail was delivered on time for the first week of the fiscal year.  We have not seen 91% on time performance for even letters alone since early September.  We saw them at 83.8% on time in the week referenced in the release.  And that’s just letters – don’t even get me started about flats.  Then they make the bizarre claim that the average time “to deliver a mailpiece or package across the nation was 2.5 days.” 

There’s no explanation as to how that number is reached, but it surely isn’t for First-Class letters or flats, which year-to-date have average 3.16 and 3.75 delivery days, respectively.  Maybe they’re including Marketing Mail which does have fewer days in transit because it is generally dropped at or near the destination SCF. 

The bottom line is this – USPS service performance for First-Class Mail is worse in 2023 than it was in 2022, and in 2022 it was worse than 2021.  And this is the cream of the mail – professionally prepared, presorted, barcoded mail.   Again, not a lot worse, but definitely not better.  And that is based on a sample of more than 563 million pieces of mail. 

Oct 23