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Postal Rate Commission approves rate hike

Posted Wednesday, November 2, 2005

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The independent Postal Rate Commission approved a postage rate increase expected to take effect in early 2006.

The cost of a First-Class stamp will go up two cents, to 39 cents, while the postcard rate will rise to 24 cents. The increases will enable the Postal Service to meet a $3.1 billion escrow payment due in 2006.

The decision follows an administrative proceeding involving mailers, employee organizations, consumer representatives and competitors. A broad cross-section of participants eventually supported the Postal Service’s request that all rates go up 5.4%, and the Commission generally accepted this proposal.

The Commission altered the rates proposed for nonprofit organizations so that they will pay $17 million less than the Postal Service requested, and recommended that small local newspapers enjoy a 2.3% rate decrease. However, the Commission found that the rates sought for books and media materials was too low to cover the cost of handling that mail, and recommended a 12.7% increase.

This will be the first hike in postage rates since June, 2002. The increase is below the rise in the CPI over that period, although the rate for First-Class mail has closely tracked the rate of inflation over the last 35 years.

Average Percent Rate Changes
First-Class Mail: %
Letters 5.2
Cards 5.0
Priority Mail 5.4
Express Mail 5.5
Periodicals:
Within County -2.3
Outside County 5.5
Standard Mail:
Regular 5.4
Nonprofit 3.0
ECR 5.5
Nonprofit ECR 12.3
Package Services:
Parcel Post 7.1
Bound Printed Matter 5.5
Media Mail 12.7
Library Rate 12.6
Special Services:
Registered Mail 5.6
Certified Mail 4.3
Money Orders 3.9
P. O. Boxes 5.6
Overall Average Increase 5.0

History of First-Class Stamp Rates
Date† Rate‡
1885-1917 2¢
1917-1919 3
1919 2
July 6, 1932 3
August 1, 1958 4
January 7, 1963 5
January 7, 1968 6
May 16, 1971 8
March 2, 1974 10
December 31, 1975 13
May 29, 1978 15
March 22, 1981 18
November 1, 1981 20
February 17, 1985 22
April 3, 1988 25
February 3, 1991 29
January 1, 1995 32
January 10, 1999 33
January 7, 2001 34
June 30, 2002 37
† The date specified is the first day on which the rate became
applicable. In some instances, the rate introduced was
temporary.
‡ The rate for the first ounce of a First-Class letter. Beginning
September 14, 1975, additional ounces have been charged
lower than the applicable first-ounce rate.

Selected Rates Used by Households
Current vs PRC Recommended
First-Class
First-Class Letter
One ounce letter 37¢ 39¢
Two ounce letter 60¢ 63¢
Post Card 23¢ 24¢
Priority Mail
One pound $3.85 $4.05
Local (5 pound) $5.85 $6.15
Distant (5 pound, 2,000 miles) $12.15 $12.80
Express Mail
8 oz. P.O. to addressee $13.65 $14.40
2 lb. P.O. to addressee $17.85 $18.80
Parcel Post – Inter BMC
2 lb., Zone 5 $4.14 $4.36
Certified Mail $2.30 $2.40
Return Receipt
Original Signature $1.75 $1.85
Electronic $1.30 $1.35
Money Orders (up to $500) 90¢ 95¢
Delivery Confirmation
First-Class Parcels 55¢ 60¢
Priority 45¢ 50¢
Parcel Post
(except Parcel Select) 55¢ 60¢

Selected Rates Used by Bulk/Worksharing Mailers†
Current vs PRC Recommended
First-Class
Bank Statement (3 oz., 3-digit,
barcoded) 70.1¢ 73.9¢
Department Store Bill
(Nonautomation presort) 35.2¢ 37.1¢
Utility Bill (5-digit, barcoded) 27.8¢ 29.3¢
Postcard (3-digit, barcoded) 18.3¢ 19.3¢
Priority Mail
3 lbs., Zone 1 $4.75 $5.00
10 lbs., Zone 4 $12.60 $13.30
Express Mail
Legal Documents (2 lbs.) $17.85 $18.80
Regular Publications
Weekly News Magazine (5.8 oz.,
50% adv., carrier route presort, SCF
entry) 17.5¢ 18.5¢
Journal of Opinion (3 oz., 25% adv.,
5-digit presort, Zone 5 entry,
barcoded) 21.6¢ 22.7¢
National Newspaper (10 oz.,
60% adv., 5-digit presort, SCF entry,
barcoded, palletized) 29.8¢ 31.4¢
Household Magazine (13.8 oz.,
50% adv., carrier route presort, SCF
entry, palletized) 27.4¢ 28.9¢
Trade Publication (6.6 oz., 50% adv.,
3-digit presort, ADC entry, bardcoded,
palletized) 31.5¢ 33.1¢
Within County Publications
In-County Newspaper (4.5 oz., DDU
entry, carrier route presort) 6.0¢ 5.8¢
Nonprofit Publications
Small Publication (4 oz., 20% adv.,
Zone 5 entry, 3-digit presort,
barcoded) 26.9¢ 28.3¢
National Magazine (14 oz., 40% adv.,
Zone 5 entry, carrier route presort) 34.5¢ 36.4¢

Selected Rates Used by Bulk/Worksharing Mailers
Current vs PRC Recommended
Standard Regular Rate Mail
Highly Targeted (3-digit presort,
2 oz. letter, barcoded) 20.3¢ 21.4¢
Targeted (5-digit presort, 9 oz.
flat) 54.0¢ 57.0¢
Local Department Store Advertisement
(5-digit presort, 3 oz.
flat, SCF entry) 26.2¢ 27.7¢
Saturation Local Mail (CR walk
sequence, 3 oz. flat, DDU entry) 12.8¢ 13.6¢
Standard Nonprofit Mail
Targeted Appeal (letter) (Basic
presort, 1 oz. letter) 16.5¢ 17.0¢
Church Bulletin (5-digit presort,
flat) 18.3¢ 18.9¢
Package Service
Parcel Select (2 lbs., Zone 1,
DBMC entry) $2.24 $2.36
Bound Printed Matter (2.5 lbs.
parcel, Zone 3, basic presort) $1.435 $1.512
Bound Printed Matter (2.5 lbs.
flat, Zone 3, basic presort) $1.358 $1.431
Media Mail (2 lbs., basic presort)
$1.54 $1.74
Library Mail (3 lbs., 5-digit presort)
$1.56 $1.78

 
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