Wednesday, June 1, 2011

USPS: That '70s Show! (Musical Tribute)

May 26, 2011
The U.S. Postal Service Nears Collapse

During the real estate boom, a surge in junk mail papered over the unraveling of the postal service's longtime business plan. Banks flooded mailboxes with subprime mortgage offers and credit-card come-ons. Then came the recession. Total mail volume plunged 20 percent from 2006 to 2010.

It is exactly what turned me bearish in the first place. No joke.

The USPS has 571,566 full-time workers, making it the country's second-largest civilian employer after Wal-Mart Stores (WMT).

Just look at those '70s!

Okay, maybe it's not just like the 1970s. We do now have computers delivering email faster, cheaper, and more reliably than humans. I'll give you that.

Okay, maybe there was some civilian job growth in the 1970s (there was) that would help explain the drop in the chart. That's not exactly happening now either.

Let's look on the bright side though. If we can reduce the number of civilian employed faster than we can decrease the amount of physical mail, then the chart above will start to improve. In fact, if we can get civilian employed down to zero and still manage to deliver so much as a single postcard then the chart is heading to infinity! Woohoo!

It is a dark, dark day for sarcastic gallows humor. Sigh.

Source Data:
USPS: Postage Rates and Historical Statistics
St. Louis Fed: Civilian Employment

1 comment:

Stagflationary Mark said...

1970s style stagflationary quote of the day:

June 1, 2011
El-Erian: Why Fed Is Unlikely to Have Third Round of Easing

It is also clear that, in its attempt to deliver “good” asset price inflation (e.g., higher equity prices), the Fed also got “bad” inflation. The latter, which essentially took the form of higher commodity prices, is stagflationary in that it imposes an inflationary tax on both production and consumption—thus countering the objective of QE2.

As he implies, I suspect QE3 would raise the bad inflation to good inflation ratio substantially.