USPS workforce at lowest level in nearly 50 years, over 258,000 less employees in 7 years

The USPS FY 2015 annual report released on November 13, 2015 contained several interesting issues which has not been covered by mainstream media. One issue was the Postal Executive pay raises, bonuses and perk(s) that covered a few days ago. Another issue is the number of career postal employees.

The size of the USPS workforce has declined in the past 15 years (FY1999-2015). The number of employees in  FY1995 stood at 874,972. By 1999 the USPS’s workforce increased to 905,766 employees –by FY2014 the numbers were down to  617,877 -by FY2015 622,000 a difference of 283,766 employees. Between FY2010 and FY2014, 55,473 career employees accepted a separation incentive to retire or resign early. On January 9, 2015, USPS instituted a reduction in force for 249 postmasters who did not accept a separation incentive offered in 2014.

USPS has increased the number of non-career employees –particularly since FY2011. Between FY2011and FY2014, the number of non-career employees increased by 46.1%, from 88,699 to 129,577 employees. The influx in non-career employees since FY2011 is primarily attributable to the establishment of three new non-career positions: postal support employees, city carrier assistants, and mail handler assistants. Labor union contracts governing these positions, which went into effect in 2011 and 2013, effectively raised the total number of non-career employees that can comprise the USPS workforce. Career employees, however, continued to comprise the majority of the total workforce in FY2014 (79%).


Overall, the only groups to show an increase in FY 2015: Rural Carriers, Clerks and Supervisors .

Headquarters – “persons who work in a variety of capacities at the two central offices of the U.S. Postal Service, which are located in Washington, DC, and Rosslyn, VA.” The numbers stood at 1,825 in the CRS report covering  FY 1995 but at the end of FY 2015 it is now 2,916.

Clerks show the biggest decrease over 20 years. In the CRS report for FY 1995 clerk/nurse numbers totaled 273,714. At the end of FY 2015 clerks/nurses have dwindled to 125,609— a decrease of over 50%.

City carriers show 239,877 in FY 1995 but now the numbers stand at 164,378.

Supervisors show a high of 34,732 in FY 1995 but at the end of FY 2015 numbers have dropped to 23,754.

Rural carriers Full-Time show a high of 46,113 in FY 1995 and now stand at 67,044 at the end of FY 2015.

Postmasters went from a high of 26,564 in FY 1995 to 15,244 as of FY 2015.

A few observations :


Although emphasis has been placed on the entire USPS workforce– the career workforce is the numbers to watch.


In 1965 the career workforce stood at 447,394.  Over the next 30+ years the workforce numbers fluctuated until 1999 when the totals peaked at 797,795.   From FY 1999 the career workforce started a steady decline ending in FY 2014 with 488,300–a decrease of 309,495 employees. But  in FY 2015 the numbers slightly increased to 491,863. USPS is approximately 45,000 employees away from reaching the career workforce numbers of 50 years ago. USPS in previous reports stated the goal was to reach 400,000 employees by 2017 which is near the numbers of nearly 60 years ago .

Between FY2007 and FY2014 (and after the PAEA was passed in 2006), 258, 392 career employees separated from USPS –202,919 employees left the rolls without an incentive and 55,473 left with an incentive during the 7-year period. In 2013 41,823 career employees separated from USPS–23,832 employees with an incentive.

Just a thought to ponder: The disappearing career workforce means middle-class jobs will be gone and replaced with a lower paid workforce. Over 202,000 employees left USPS without an incentive in 7 years. The question is why? It would be interesting to find out the true breakdown of why employees left the rolls.

2015, 2014, 2013 Totals

Career employees 492,000 488,000 491,000
Non-career employees 130,000 130,000 127,000

Total employees 622,000 618,000 618,000


commut27To be continued……

20 thoughts on “USPS workforce at lowest level in nearly 50 years, over 258,000 less employees in 7 years

  1. Come to my facility where the carpenters have just built a holding cell. Necessitated by the fact that we no longer perform even the most cursory background checks meaning we hire folks with active warrants, felony convictions, you name it.

    I cannot believe how far this once proud organization has fallen. Why do people separate? Because they can. Myself, I count the days, for once in my life I wish I was older.

  2. More and more mgt , working 6 hours and go home at noon, leaving the offices with no one in charge, they falsify all info, like parcels and collections scans ….. hours and hours before carriers return to office. Then the pooms promote them from 17’s to 18’s to move them out of the offices they falsified all the data in. When all the mgt finally get caught, they just move them around like the pedophile priests. Even when the union has the proof of mgt falsifying the numbers or changing payroll clockrings and send the proof to the inspecters and oig, nothing happens. Just move them like pedophile priests. If you want to get promoted in the usps, just screw up, or sue the usps, and watch the usps settle by moving and promoting you. North of nyc, wow what a bunch of thieves

  3. Is there going to be a clerk incentive anytime in the near future? There are a lot of CSRS employees that are just waiting.

  4. Definitely not the deal our senior guys got. I remember starting as a PTF window clerk in the mid nineties. NBD. Clock some time, do a good job and move up. As it turns out I took the ET test. Went to a PDC as an ET. New again! No seniority for crossing crafts. “Oh well! Gotta pay my dues like everyone else did.” Work every holiday, horrible tour and rest days, getting forced to training all the time. NBD. 5 years go by, the ten, then 15. At 10? Sun/Mon rest days on tour 2. Most holidays off. People junior to me now getting forced to training. Decent selections on prime time vacation. Then 2013. Our plant closed. Forced across crafts into the clerk craft. When getting forced across crafts in APWU you automatically begin a new period of seniority. New clerk. After 16 years as an ET. Now! Heres where it gets really screwed up. “Just be thankful you have a job.” “This is contracturally correct.” Both of those statements are ignorant beyond belief. Shouted out by ignorant people both in management and craft. I didnt really mind being a clerk with saved grade level 10. Losing seniority is no joke. I just got forced for about 12 or 13 holidays in a row. I ended with excess AL every year and taking vacation in November because I can’t get any choices on the prime time vacation list. Forced for training. (As you can see I’m back in maint in another facility) . This filthy rag of a contract that Guffy wrote screwed everybody. Consider this. Lets say saved grade was easy to lose but seniority couldnt be touched. Lets say I got busted to custodian level 3 but I kept my seniority even if I went to another facility. With my seniority I would have bid into an ET job within two months. No matter where I went. I also would have had decent rest days and decent vacation. I also would have avoided being forced for training on equipment I will never work on. You people are unbelievable. Yeah. I know money is important. It’s they omly reason we work. Conditions are important too. Doing something you cant stand five days a week just to keep saved grade is a miserable existence. With seniority bidding around to find good conditions is not difficult at all. yes! you would have to go through the steps again to get back to top step but at least there would be alot of benefits. It’s like the story of the goose that laid the golden egg. People will take a slightly higher check now to ensure a miserable forever. Unbelievable.

    • They will never offer any more early out incentives with the high turnover rate of CCA’s and PSE’s, who are being overworked and underpaid thanks to Goofy Guffey and the stupid APWU who gave away more casuals and the arbitrators who imposed it on the other unions.

  5. im sure the nalc will call this a win too……. no wonder they are pushing us so hard to get all new employees to join the union…… nope sorry Fred

  6. In Rolla Mo., a level 21 office, in 1999 there were 21 career clerks and now there are 4! UBBM is never touched, Webbats are rarely done, and you could imagine the rest! We are fighting for our last 3 ftrs reverted jobs. We are last of our Breed!

  7. While every other position has been slashed to the bone, hq has INCREASED, and GIVEN THEMSELVES RAISES, BONUSES, ETC. !

    The corruption, sleaze, and criminal behavior of these crooks and thieves, knows no bounds.

  8. There is no mystery why so many left the USPS – it just means because there are restrictions to public statements by employees, not managers that you don’t hear of it outside internet commenting sites. As far as control of the press, you get only the heads of the unions and postal management who are charged with dispensing their usual half truths and out and out bullshit through their “official” spokespersons, who usually don’t have any more of a clue what’s going on either because they are sitting in their cozy offices far removed from operations and craft people, and really don’t care what we say. They manufacture what they want you to hear, and are always releasing some stupid crap for employees that are not business related I guess to make themselves feel powerful and needed.
    They try to horn in on personal matters, offering “counseling” and advice on everything, like they’re fucking experts!
    People are leaving the service because they’re either the new non-career types who are driven into the ground with almost no time off ever and no hope of a career position. Many places pay much better than what is offered to a PSE, CCA or other starter, and conditions are less stressful. People can’t wait around forever while their career counterparts earn twice as much as they do, and aren’t harassed and threatened by supervisors and managers who delight in being tyrants with workers that have no real way to fight back. The NALC for example can do little to help the CCA’s, or at least it’s certainly shown it isn’t interested.
    Others are just worn out from being pack mules, some have had as much abuse from management and, all things being fair, the occasional co-worker who is simply insufferable they want to deal with anymore. It’s a very tiring job designed to wear carriers down over time, and we do. Some of us develop thicker skins and are lucky to have a strong local bond with our fellow carriers, like my office who look out for one another, for the most part. Other offices where union presence is absent or made up of a lot of disagreeable people means a lot less pleasant place to have to work. There are neighboring cities by my office I wouldn’t carry mail in if you paid me a lot more because the atmosphere and conditions are terrible.
    If people leave good jobs in droves, you can bet it’s because of piss poor management from the top down. They are bonus driven in the USPS, obsessed with getting pay they don’t earn and don’t deserve, and then have the nerve to suggest the craft is overpaid. They liken themselves to big time CEO’s and corporate big shots when they have no real skills outside cooking numbers, abusing other lower ranking management and craft, and being back stabbing lying crooks. They lie to everybody, and nobody ever follows up on them.
    There’s no mystery. Just look back at postal news items over time and you see the same shit over and over again.

  9. The number of workers has decreased mostly due to automation. The increase in productivity will help keep jobs in the future, even if there are fewer workers. A larger concern is standard mail. If you read the annual report, standard mail is 52% of total mail volume, but only 26% of revenue. The largest percentage of revenue still comes from 1st class letters which is about 40.5% of volume but about 41% of revenue. The average piece paid for postage of a standard letter is 22 cents, which means the largest mailers are paying around 10 cents a letter and have not seen a postage increase in 40 years!

    • “The number of workers has decreased mostly due to automation. The increase in productivity will help keep jobs in the future, even if there are fewer workers.”

      Agree with everything you have to say except for this, about which you obviously have no practical knowledge.

      • If you go to website you can find the cost of standard mail for small mailings which average around 35 cents. The percentages and average cost calculations come from the 2015 annual report for which there is a link at the top of the page. Since that works out to 22 cents a letter that means large mailings bring the average down by a good amount. Large mailers sign contracts with postal management and the price is not released to the public.

        It used to take 18 LSM clerks to sort as much mail as 1 DBCS does today. Unfortunately there are those who wish to pay automation clerks a lot less money by privatizing the system. This would generate millions of dollars for owners and managers of the processing of mail. If automation did not exist it would cost a lot more money to mail a letter.

        The companies that would like to buy the service out only want the processing plants. There have been articles released from the mail associations stating so. The worst year of the economy the postal service added 500,000 new addresses to the system. Before the economy tanked 1.2 million new addresses were added in a single year. As the carrier end is were cost can not be controlled, private companies have been telling congress they are not interested in delivering the mail and these can remain government jobs. Again there have been articles supporting that information.

        • I started out as an LSM PTF in 1994… I understand your point, but am going to guess that you are NOT a craft employee at a processing facility. If you are, I’d be very interested to know what you do and where.

          You can NOT justify one employee working a machine that was designed for a minimum of two due to safety concerns. You can NOT justify keeping maintenance staffing static while doubling the run times of the processing equipment AND cutting the maintenance window in half. You can NOT justify ANYTHING which negatively impacts service standards and has carriers working well into the hours of darkness.

          The ONLY way Corporate has been able to justify ANY of this was due to a manufactured fiscal ‘crisis’ which only existed on paper. They used this to illegally destroy 1st class letter mail service standards back in January. This was the goal ALL ALONG and the ‘crisis’ was just a pretext.

          I have actually seen one clerk have to race between two DBCS type machines as we are so continually shorthanded. I have seen one clerk working an entire AFSM 100. This is a vanilla machine with NO mods and designed for a minimum staffing of FIVE! I am typically given 5 to 8 hours of pm routes a night with only 1 to 2 hours to accomplish them while ‘managers’, who were formerly worthless craft employees, scream about completion rates and bypassed routes.

          FYI, the 1st class ‘decline’ was due largely to the recession, has slowed to nearly flat line, and will begin to reverse NLT next year as it has done after EVERY other recession. 1st class letter mail accounts for 28% of our total profit, a.k.a. – STILL the number one money maker for the postal service. Though Corporate, which continually pushes work share/presort discounts for mail service/classes we don’t charge nearly enough for, would have you believe otherwise.

          Besides being a 21+ year employee who went from PTF to fulltime, from clerk craft to maintenance, who has worked all three tours and as a 204b in the past; I am also retired military. In that career, I worked as a fuels specialist, cryogenics plant maintainer, radio repair craftsman and maintenance operations specialist. With this knowledge set, I feel pretty safe in making a few observations:

          RAOI/PostPlan, network rationalization, cutting staffing by over 40%, doubling the ratio of non-career vs. career while fattening the Corporate ranks, etc. have saved us NOTHING! If they had, how could Corporate still be able to decry 80% labor costs and show annual losses? Either all of these measures to ‘save’ us were pointless, or Corporate is LYING!!!

          Don’t believe everything you read from taxpayer ‘watchdog’ groups. Why they feel compelled/qualified to have a view on an institution which has received NO taxpayer monies since 1983, funds its retirements and retiree healthcare beyond the Fortune 500 gold standard and WELL beyond anything the federal government, which was 100% taxpayer funded the last time I checked, is beyond me.

          Have a nice day.

        • Also, we were one of the last to lose our LSM in ’95 or ’96. You can’t blame something that happened 20 years ago for the loss of over 350k career positions in a 15 year span.

          Corporate’s stated goal for several years now has been 400k career total. We are currently at about 485k. I’d really like to know how they arrived at 400k. I doubt they can justify it as it was most likely completely arbitrary…

  10. You asked the question why have so many employees left the Postal Service without an incentive? That is a very easy question to answer. Do you think people like to work like a trained circus animal every day, be treated like an inmate locked up in the joint, and be managed by slave drivers? No ! Once their sentence is up, no one wants to hang around! It is, however, to hear that management received bonuses. I for one, hope that they enjoyed them.

  11. Maybe those 202,000 workforce career employees left due to a concerted effort to frustrate the living hell out of retirement eligible employees and , as shown from the increase of OIG agents, an effort to bait carriers, mail handlers, and clerks…. Never heard of baiting in the Management offices where the theft takes place in TACs. Now before the self-righteous among us start to comment how the “thieves” deserve to be fired, it doesn’t take much to be fired, one only has happen to be the one to find the envelop to be ambushed by the OIG agents, then being pressured to resign or face prosecution in Federal District court where all of the US gov’t resources will be thrown at you and if you can afford an attorney, then them as well (Note: Even if you do resign, you most likely will be prosecuted anyway). If you can’t then you will most likely get an over-worked defense attorney appointed to your case, where you will be advised over and over again to plead guilty and take a lesser sentence (Note: you are a felon now and will have hell finding a job or going to any higher level education to better your life) . At which you will, because most people don’t know their rights under federal law.

  12. THE THUGS want us to do more with/for less. Volumes are up. Morale
    is down. Discipline and absenteeism are way up. Numbers are way
    down. People are fed up. We get 1% and they get bonuses. The thugs
    push and push. The thugs use their rats and CIs. The thugs have their
    favorites who do nothing. What a company. Fire them all.

  13. I remember when I started in the Postal Service we had a building filled with people sorting the mail. Then came the machines took the place of 10 to 15 clerks but employed about 4 maintenance people .I saw the sorting cases get replaced with machines but I also saw the older people that would work into their 70’s and some further retire . The work force now is very young , anyone that can retire does. They are replaced with lower wage and temporary work force . They consolidated post office sorting operations so much that the mail could not be delivered on time so they changed and hired more temporary people. They now have a work force that puts in the 8 to 12 hours that they have to. Very few care about the job and consider the job a long term career . If you ask them they are there for the pay check. As I am proud to have served in the military I am also proud to have been a Postal employee. I retired because my job was moved over 50 miles away and the job I was left to take was very challenging for my age and condition. So bottom line is thy want non career workers who don’t get trained because they don’t expect or want them to stay and the people who expect Service are the ones they pay. Higher rates and later mail. oh and pay raises for the executives who make the decisions that make for worse working conditions and smaller work force. BTW OSHA fines for the Post Service were in the10s of thousands last year. Maybe more as I don’t see the reports anymore. Again workers get the result of poor upper management not doing a good job. That is where we should be seeing the reduction.

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