For anyone needing yet another marker of the U.S. Postal Service’s condition, here you go: Total work hours last year fell to their lowest point since the mail carrier became an independent federal agency in 1971. That’s according to the Postal Regulatory Commission’s “Annual Compliance Determination” report released this week.
For fiscal 2011, total work hours dropped to just under 1.15 billion, the report says. With the exception of rural letter carriers, no craft was spared. Clerks and mail handlers were hardest hit, with their total hours dipping almost 4 percent. The decline shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that the number of postal employees is also falling to historic lows. From 2008 to last year the career workforce tumbled from 663,238 to 552,251, about a 16 percent decline.