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Tough Times

The Stamp Collecting Report, I'm Lloyd de Vries.

The economy is sour, and the U-S Postal Service is among the businesses taking a hit. 
Mail volume is on track to be down 9 billion pieces. In the third quarter of its fiscal 
year, the U-S-P-S lost one-point-one billion dollars. And for the first time, the agency 
is talking about layoffs.

Some of the reasons have nothing to do with the current fiscal crisis: Americans just 
don't write that many letters any more....and are paying more and more bills online. 
That's cutting the volume of first-class mail, one of the more profitable types of mail. 
And the big jump in gas prices also put a crimp in the postal budget: The delivery vans 
and trucks cost much more to operate now.

All this is going to affect the Postal Service's customers, including stamp collectors 
and those who just like interesting stamps on their mail.

There will be a rate increase next year, of course. Right now, the rate of inflation is 
over 5 percent, so you can figure at least a two-cent and possibly three-cent hike in the 
cost of mailing a letter next year.

Window hours are going to be cut.

And the Postal Service is reducing the stamps it produces, both in the number of 
different issues AND the quantities of each.

I'm Lloyd de Vries of The Virtual Stamp Club. For more on stamps and stamp collecting, 
visit virtual-stamp-club-dot-com.

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