WASHINGTON — The struggling U.S. Postal Service on Thursday reported an annual loss of a record $15.9 billion, capping a tumultuous year in which it was forced to default for the first time on billions in payments to avert bankruptcy.
The financial losses for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 compared to a $5.1 billion loss in the previous year.
Much of the red ink was due to mounting costs for future retiree health benefits, which made up $11.1 billion of the losses. Without that and other related labor expenses, the mail agency sustained an operating loss of $2.4 billion, lower than the previous year.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the post office has been able to reduce costs significantly by boosting worker productivity. But he said the mail agency has been hampered by congressional inaction on a postal overhaul bill that would allow it to eliminate Saturday mail delivery and reduce its $5 billion annual payment for future health benefits.