National Association of Letter Carriers News Feed http://www.nalc.org/rss/ National Association of Letter Carriers News Feed Wed, 1 Oct 2014 05:00:00 +0000 AMPS en hourly 1 CCA back pay update http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/cca-back-pay-update Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:21:08 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/cca-back-pay-update The Postal Service has notified NALC that the retroactive payments for city carrier assistants (CCAs) resulting from implementation of the 2016-2019 National Agreement will be delayed by one pay period. The payments originally scheduled to be included in Pay Period 3 paychecks payable on Feb. 9 will now be in Pay Period 4 paychecks payable on Feb. 23. 

The back pay period covers Nov. 26, 2016, through Sept. 15, 2017. This payment will include the 2.2 percent general wage increase and the addition of two $0.50-per-hour step increases in the new CCA pay scale where applicable. The two $0.50-per-hour step increases are payable at 12 and 52 weeks of service.

Eligible employees that served as CCA letter carriers between Nov. 26, 2016, and Sept. 15, 2017, and were employees of the Postal Service on or after Aug. 7, 2017. Former CCA letter carriers who were active on Aug. 7, 2017, and have since separated from the Postal Service should check back for further updates on when and how their back pay will be distributed.

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Update on legal action concerning 2017 ratification balloting http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/update-on-legal-action-concerning-2017-ratification-balloting Sat, 13 Jan 2018 07:17:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/update-on-legal-action-concerning-2017-ratification-balloting Legal claims challenging the conduct of the 2017 contract ratification vote have been dismissed by the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C.  The court’s order, issued January 4, found that those claims are now moot. As previously reported, on July 28, 2017, the Court denied the request of two NALC members (Thomas Houff of Richmond, VA Branch 496 and David Noble of Washington, DC Branch 142) for a preliminary injunction that would have deferred the counting of ballots on the proposed tentative 2016-2019 National Agreement between NALC and the U.S. Postal Service.

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POSTAL FACTS: Jan. 10, 2018 (updated) http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts Mon, 08 Jan 2018 14:41:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.

The Postal Service: A service Americans should appreciate (The Hill)

NALC President Fredric Rolando’s guest column in The Hill ran yesterday, rebutting two Hill commentaries (here and here) that slammed USPS. Rolando’s piece rebuts both prior pieces and also discusses the broad value of the Postal Service to our country.

Click here to read the article.

Postal Service, Census Bureau mull partnership for 2020 count (Federal News Radio)

In an interview with Federal News Radio on Jan. 8, NALC Chief of Staff Jim Sauber did a skillful job raising a variety of issues: Census Bureau/USPS/letter carriers, pre-funding, Board of Governor vacancies, postal vehicles, Amazon and negotiated service agreements. 

Click here to read the article.

Stay informed with mail (Idaho Press-Tribune)
Letter: Mail is educational, inspiring (magicvalley.com)
U.S. Postal Service (Idaho State Journal)

Idaho State Association of Letter Carriers President John Paige’s letter to the editors of the Idaho Press-Tribune, magicvalley.com and the Idaho State Journal all ran on Jan. 2.

Click here to read the letter in the Idaho Press-Tribune.
Click here to read the letter on magicvalley.com.
Click here to read the letter in Idaho State Journal.

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NALC response to White House tweet on the Postal Service http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-response-to-white-house-tweet-on-the-postal-service Tue, 09 Jan 2018 10:04:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-response-to-white-house-tweet-on-the-postal-service Over the holidays, the president mentioned the Postal Service in the following tweet:

While it is clear that the intended target was Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos (who is also owner of The Washington Post), what is less clear is the reason for the sudden interest in the pricing of packages. It’s probably because of recent media attention resulting from a policy campaign by the United Parcel Service (UPS).

For more than 40 years, UPS has been trying relentlessly to force the Postal Service to raise parcel rates. If successful, this effort would essentially drive business away from the Postal Service and result in more volume at higher prices and greater profits for UPS – good for its shareholders, bad for American businesses and households.

Unlike its competitors, the Postal Service already is required, by federal law, to make a profit on every package it delivers – including those for Amazon.  Also unlike UPS and FedEx, the Postal Service is required by law to deliver to every address in the country six days a week.

If the president truly wants to make the Postal Service “smarter and richer,” he has the power to do so.

He can start by nominating a full slate of competent and qualified candidates to the Postal Service Board of Governors (BOG) and by filling a key vacancy on the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). While the vacant BOG is a problem President Trump inherited, as of today he has offered only three nominations for the BOG, even though all nine seats are vacant. Meanwhile, the PRC, which is central to the Postal Service’s ability to set postage rates appropriately, is missing its fifth member. Indeed, sensible postal pricing hangs in the balance right now at the PRC as it works to create a new postage rate-setting system.

If the president wants to ultimately raise rates, it can be done only with a functioning Board of Governors and a Postal Regulatory Commission at full strength.

Beyond making these nominations, the most important thing the president can do to make the Postal Service smarter and stronger is to remove the crushing financial burden placed on the Postal Service by the 2006 congressional mandate to pre-fund future retiree health benefits decades in advance, something no other public agency or private company is required to do. This policy change, which President Trump’s predecessor did not achieve, has bipartisan support. It would immediately restore the constitutionally mandated Postal Service to financial stability, enabling it to continue to serve 155 million businesses and residences six (and sometimes seven) days a week while continuing to provide the most affordable postal rates in the industrial world.

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Mutual Benefit Association announces interest rates for 2018 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/mutual-benefit-association-announces-interest-rates-for-2018 Tue, 09 Jan 2018 08:49:19 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/mutual-benefit-association-announces-interest-rates-for-2018 The United States Letter Carriers Mutual Benefit Association (MBA) is pleased to announce that the Interest Rates paid on MBA Policies will remain the same for 2018.  The MBA is currently paying 3.25% interest on the Retirement Savings Plans (except for those policies which guarantee a higher minimum rate). 

Reminder: April 16, 2018 is the last day to make a Contribution to a Traditional IRA or Roth IRA for the 2017 Tax Year.

Go here to find out more about the MBA's Retirement Savings Plan.

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Carriers encouraged to give through CFC (updated) http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/carriers-encouraged-to-give-through-cfc-1 Thu, 02 Nov 2017 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/carriers-encouraged-to-give-through-cfc-1

2017 Combined Federal Campaign: USPS Information and FAQs on permissible CFC events and activities (PDF)

United States Office of Personnel Management CFC Charitable Giving User Guide 2017 (PDF)

Donate online via opm.gov/showsomelovecfc (registration required).

2017 Combined Federal Campaign pledge form (PDF)

As federal employees, letter carriers can make charitable donations through the world’s largest annual workplace giving program, the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), through deductions from our paychecks.

“Letter carriers are known for taking care of our communities,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “The CFC is a convenient way for letter carriers to support their favorite charities.”

Pledges made by donors during the campaign season support eligible non-profit organizations chosen by the donor.

This year, CFC is making it easier for all federal employees to donate online and giving federal retirees an easy option for donating through deductions from their annuities. To donate online, an employee needs to register an account at opm.gov/showsomelovecfc

To facilitate these changes, the campaign dates have been moved to later than past years. Federal and postal employees may designate the organizations they want to support from Oct. 2 through Jan. 12.

Carriers can choose the charity or group of charities they want to support from a list of more than 2,000 eligible charities, and an amount they choose will be deducted from their paychecks each pay period and automatically sent to each charity.

“The combined effort of letter carriers and other federal employees makes a huge difference to the charities that support our communities each year,” Rolando said.

All letter carriers can participate in the CFC.

In a letter, Rolando asked NALC members to contribute through the CFC in addition to the other ways they support the community.

“Each day, within the communities where we live and deliver the mail, many of us encounter people who are enduring real-life problems,” Rolando wrote. “Throughout the year, we help our communities in a number of ways while looking after those who are vulnerable. In addition to what we do each day in the neighborhoods we serve, the Combined Federal Campaign gives us an easy way to contribute money through payroll deductions to the charities you care about.”

NALC is directly involved in three such charities:

  • The Postal Employees’ Relief Fund (PERF) provides financial support to postal employees whose homes are damaged or destroyed by natural disasters, such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The charity is run by the four postal employee unions and three management organizations, whose members support PERF through voluntary donations. PERF grants money to homeowners and renters alike to help with deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses that insurance claims don’t cover, and to assist with replacement of lost property and temporary housing. Information and applications for PERF assistance can be found at postalrelief.com.
  • The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is NALC’s only official charity. It is the world’s leading non-profit health organization sponsoring research into the causes of, and effective treatments for, neuromuscular diseases. MDA research grants support about 150 research projects worldwide, as well as camps and activities for children who have one of these diseases. For more information, go to mdausa.org.
  • United Way Worldwide is the leadership and support organization for the network of nearly 1,800 community-based United Ways in 40 countries and territories. The United Way’s focus is creating community-based and community-led solutions that strengthen the cornerstones for a good quality of life: education, financial stability and health. For more information, go to unitedway.org.
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POSTAL FACTS: Dec. 28, 2017 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-dec-28-2017 Thu, 28 Dec 2017 10:32:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-dec-28-2017 What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.

US should establish vote-by-mail, to raise voter turnout (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

Former Charleston, WV Branch 531 President Mack Combs’s letter to the editor of the Charleston Gazette-Mail ran on Dec. 27.

Click here to read the letter.

Pocatello Mailman Shown Helping Woman Cross the Street (KPVI-TV)

A KPVI-TV viewer snapped a photo of Pocatello, ID Branch 927’s Jason Rich helping a woman cross a street. The station ran the photo and a short story about it on Dec. 15.

Click here to read the story.

Paige letter: Postal Service (Idaho Statesman)
HOLIDAYS: Mail makes merry (The Coeur d’Alene Press)

Idaho State Association of Letter Carriers President John Paige’s letter to the editors of The Coeur d’Alene Press and the Idaho Statesman ran on Nov. 29 and Nov. 30, respectively.

Click here to read the letter in The Coeur d’Alene Press.
Click here to read the letter in the Idaho Statesman.

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Questions and answers about changes to TSP withdrawal options http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/questions-and-answers-about-changes-to-tsp-withdrawal-options Wed, 13 Dec 2017 16:00:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/questions-and-answers-about-changes-to-tsp-withdrawal-options The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board developed a package of legislative changes that would provide withdrawal flexibility for Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) participants and shared the package with members of Congress. Congress recently passed the TSP Modernization Act and President Trump signed it into law.

Click here to read a fact sheet that answers frequently asked questions about changes to TSP withdrawal options.

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Now accepting applications for the 2018 NALC Leadership Academy http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/now-accepting-applications-for-the-2018-nalc-leadership-academy Fri, 01 Dec 2017 14:49:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/now-accepting-applications-for-the-2018-nalc-leadership-academy NALC is now accepting applications for the 2018 NALC Leadership Academy, which is open to all active NALC members including CCAs.

Click here to access the application form, which is fillable online and can be saved or printed. Those who have applied previously but were not selected must reapply to be considered. (If you have problems with the fillable form, simply print it out and fill it out by hand.)

The application form has two main parts, one for the applicant to complete and one for the mentor. The applicant’s portion requests contact information, union positions held and any other experience, skills or knowledge the applicant may want to list. Applicants must complete a 300-500 word essay explaining their interest in the Leadership Academy and qualifications to participate in it. The second part is to be completed by a mentor chosen by the applicant.

The mentor must provide a written recommendation explaining how long they have known the applicant, why they believe the applicant should be accepted to the Leadership Academy and their sense of the applicant’s leadership potential. The form also contains a statement of mutual commitment that the mentor and applicant must sign.

Working with a good mentor is one of the most important components for a student to have a successful Leadership Academy experience. For this reason, applicants are encouraged to choose their mentors carefully. Generally, a good mentor would be someone with advanced leadership skills who is willing to spend a significant amount of time interacting with the student while providing guidance and encouragement. A mentor should also be in a position to provide the opportunities and venues for the student to practice the skills they have learned at the Academy and be available to observe their work and provide appropriate feedback. Branch presidents or other branch officers are often good choices for mentors as they have opportunities to work closely with the student and can provide the help needed with the outside learning projects. Leadership Academy graduates, national business agents, regional administrative assistants and state association officers have also mentored past students and are another good source.

The Leadership Academy consists of three week-long sessions held over a five-month period at the Maritime Institute near Baltimore, MD. After graduation, the students will spend a fourth week working in a national business agent’s office. In between the three weeks of classroom sessions at the Academy, students are required to complete at-home learning projects based on the curriculum covered during the previous week’s session and submit a written report about it.

The Academy curriculum is designed to both develop and enhance the knowledge and skills that are essential for NALC leaders. In addition to the Leadership Academy staff, each of the resident national officers, as well as many headquarters staff members, help teach at the Academy, providing students with NALC’s top experts in each field.

Upon selection, students will be advised of the exact dates they will need to be available for each class. Transportation, room, meals, wages and other associated costs while attending the Academy and working in the business agent’s office are paid by the NALC.  

Any active member who is interested in attending the Academy is encouraged to select a mentor and apply. Completed applications must be postmarked by Feb. 28. Confirmation of receipt of the application form at NALC headquarters will be sent to the applicant. 

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Back pay update http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/back-pay-update Fri, 01 Dec 2017 21:21:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/back-pay-update Active letter carriers

All active career letter carriers received their back pay in today’s paycheck. This payment covers the period of time from Sept. 3, 2016, through August 18, 2017. During this period, career letter carriers received three wage increases: a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of $21 annually, effective Sept. 3, 2016; a general wage increase of 1.2 percent effective Nov. 26, 2016; and a COLA of $333 effective March 4, 2017.

Active city carrier assistant (CCA) letter carriers will receive their back pay in their Feb. 9, 2018, paychecks. A CCA’s back pay will cover the period from Nov. 26, 2016, through Sept. 15, 2017. This payment will include the 2.2 percent general wage increase and the addition of two $0.50-per-hour step increases in the new CCA pay scale where applicable. The two $0.50-per-hour step increases are payable at 12 and 52 weeks of service.

Letter carriers who converted from CCA to career during the back pay period received the career portion of their back pay today and will receive the back pay for their time spent as a CCA in their Feb. 9, 2018, paycheck.

Retired and separated letter carriers

Most career letter carriers who retired between Sept. 3, 2016, and August 18, 2017, and those career letter carriers who were active on August 7, 2017, and have since separated from the Postal Service, also received their back pay today. These former letter carriers received their back pay in the form of a paper check mailed to the last office in which they worked, and they should contact their former office to arrange getting the check.

The remaining 3,600 carriers in this category will receive their back pay the same way on Dec. 15, 2017. This unfortunate delay is due to a coding error related to the terminal leave payments made to these carriers.

Former CCA letter carriers who were active on August 7, 2017, and have since separated from the Postal Service should check back for further updates on when and how their back pay will be distributed.

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Penalty Overtime Exclusion scheduled http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/penalty-overtime-exclusion-scheduled Tue, 28 Nov 2017 09:23:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/penalty-overtime-exclusion-scheduled As referenced in Article 8, sections 4 and 5, of the USPS-NALC and USPS-APWU national agreements, the December period during which penalty overtime regulations are not applicable consists of four consecutive service weeks.

This year, the December period begins Pay Period 25-17—Week 2 (Dec. 2, 2017) and ends Pay Period 01-18—Week 1 (Dec. 29, 2017).

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NALC challenges change to promotion pay provisions http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-challenges-change-to-promotion-pay-provisions Thu, 02 Nov 2017 09:33:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-challenges-change-to-promotion-pay-provisions Many letter carriers currently receiving promotion pay after being promoted to a Grade 2 assignment recently received PS Forms 50 notifying them of additional waiting time added before reaching their next step increase. This is a result of a recent revision to the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM). NALC has challenged this revision.

Pursuant to Article 19 of the National Agreement, USPS notified NALC of proposed revisions to ELM Section 422.2, City Carrier Schedule. The revision eliminates the requirement that two times the most prevalent step be added to a Table 2 Grade 1 letter carrier’s salary when promoted to a Grade 2 assignment. If this pay rate fell between two steps, the carrier would then receive the higher step. This calculation resulted in Table 2 Grade 1 letter carriers receiving a two-step increase when assigned to a Grade 2 assignment.

Additionally, USPS notified NALC that it would be holding employees who previously received the two-step promotion pay increase in place in their current step for an additional 92 weeks less any time served since their last step increase.

The ELM revision and the “hold in place” were effective Oct. 14, 2017.

NALC has filed a national class-action grievance (Q16N-4Q-C 17638188) on the issues and appealed it to arbitration. Any local grievances should be held in abeyance pending resolution of the national grievance. Branch officers, representatives and members with any questions should contact their national’s business agent’s office.

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PRC completes its review of the postage rate-setting system http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/prc-completes-its-review-of-the-postage-rate-setting-system Fri, 01 Dec 2017 15:54:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/prc-completes-its-review-of-the-postage-rate-setting-system The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) today posted its findings of the so-called 10-year review of the postage rate-making system established by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA). That law indexed the prices of so-called "market dominant" products (e.g., letter mail, periodicals and catalogs) to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), often referred to as the CPI price cap. The law also called on the PRC to launch a review of the system after 10 years to determine whether the new system was working to fulfill the nine objectives identified by the law, including financial sustainability and service quality and predictability.

NALC filed comments in the review case, which was launched Dec. 20, 2016, arguing that the current system was failing to meet the key objectives of the PAEA. We also urged the commission to approve a one-time—or “true-up”—increase to restore the Postal Service’s financial stability. In addition, we called on the PRC to propose a new system without a price cap.

On our first argument, the PRC agreed with NALC, as well as USPS and the other postal unions, that the current system is not working. Given that virtually all of the other interested parties urged the commission to conclude otherwise, this is a victory. 

However, on our second argument, the PRC did not call for a “true-up” increase or a new system without a price cap. Instead, it proposed a new price cap allowing the Postal Service to raise rates by up to two percentage points above the CPI each year (CPI+2) with the possibility of raising rates by an additional one percentage point (CPI+3) if efficiency and service-quality targets are met. This proposed system is set to last for five years before a new review. It will be the subject of a rule-making proceeding that will involve a 120-day comment period for interested parties. 

“We will vigorously participate in this new rate-making proceeding,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said, “and we remain committed to achieving a sensible system of rate-setting that will be good for the public and the Postal Service.”

NALC is now reviewing the PRC’s 293-page report on its findings from the 10-year review, as well as the 190-page order of proposed rulemaking, and we will report more fully on both in the January Postal Record.

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Tell your senators to vote ‘no’ on tax bill http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/tell-your-senator-to-vote-no-on-tax-bill Thu, 30 Nov 2017 09:06:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/tell-your-senator-to-vote-no-on-tax-bill Last month, House Republicans advanced a tax reform measure, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (H.R. 1), which does little to benefit middle-class working families.

Now, their Senate counterparts are racing to jam through the Senate a similar version of the bill (S. 1) after just one hearing, with a vote expected on the floor this week.

While the House and Senate bills are not identical, they both aim to cut taxes for corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans on the backs of letter carriers and working families.

Take action now!

In particular, passage of the Senate bill would result in:

  • Higher taxes for 93 million Americans who earn less than $75,000 by 2027—after short-term cuts expire. Meanwhile, the richest Americans (the top 0.1 percent) would receive a $208,000 average annual tax cut and mostly permanent relief.
  • Permanent and massive tax cuts for corporations and other special-interest provisions that would incentivize companies to outsource American jobs overseas and develop other tax-avoidance schemes.
  • A repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate, raising health insurance premiums for a majority of Americans and resulting in 13 million losing insurance by 2027.
  • A repeal of the deductions for the state and local taxes (SALT) and other tax provisions important to lower- and middle-class working families.
  • Adding $1.4 trillion to the federal deficit over a decade, which would inevitably be paid for with future cuts to vital programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and with spending offsets, which would put federal employee health and retirement benefit cuts on the table.

NALC urges you to call your senators now and tell them to oppose S. 1 when it comes to the Senate floor. Tell them that this bill is grossly unfair and bad for working families. Dial the U.S. Capitol’s switchboard at 202-224-3121 and be ready to provide your ZIP code to get connected.

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Economics Blog: Consumer sentiment is at its highest levels since January 2004 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/economics-blog-consumer-sentiment-nov-17 Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:34:21 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/economics-blog-consumer-sentiment-nov-17

The University of Michigan released numbers for consumer sentiment in November 2017 yesterday, part of the university’s Survey of Consumers. Consumer sentiment is a measure of how consumers are feeling about the economy overall and this can translate into higher amounts of spending in the economy. It is especially crucial going into the holiday season as retailers and delivery providers attempt to gauge the likelihood that consumers will want to purchase goods and services. This has direct implications for the USPS, as well as postal competitors such as FedEx and UPS, as willingness to spend translates into higher volumes of package delivery.

The index of consumer sentiment was 98.5 for November 2017, down 2.2 percent from October 2017 but an increase in 5.6 percent from November 2016. Consumer sentiment is at its highest levels since January 2004 despite relatively stagnant real wages and a slight decline in real earnings in October 2017. Consumers are most likely reacting to low official unemployment (4.1 percent in October 2017), increasing expectations for future employment, and persistently low inflation (inflation expectations are the lowest on record).

These numbers are very encouraging and signal an expected gain of 2.7 percent in real consumption expenditures in 2018, in addition to the best run-up to the holiday shopping season in a decade. This should have a beneficial effect on package volume for the USPS for the first quarter of 2018, boosting already bourgeoning package volume and revenue. Shipping and package volume increased 11.4 percent in FY 2017 and the resulting revenue increased 11.8 percent. Shipping and packages accounted for 28 percent of USPS operating revenue in FY 2017, a 27.3 percent increase since FY 2015, and amounted to 3.8 percent of total mail volume, and increase of 31 percent since FY 2015.

However, there are some factors which may cause consumer enthusiasm to pause. Given the length of the current expansion from the 2007-2009 recession, it is possible that the economy is nearing what economists call a cyclical peak, a high point of economic activity right before a recession. There are also significant fiscal and monetary policy actions looming, including the Republican tax plan and possible rate increases by the Federal Reserve in December. So far these potential policy changes have not affected consumer confidence.

Below is a table of results from November 2017 from the University of Michigan Survey Of Consumers: 

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