Post Office Cuts to Slow Mail Delivery Next Spring

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The U.S. Postal Service's financial problems could soon delay your mail as the agency prepares to make unprecedented cuts to its ballooning budget.

The deep cuts to be announced Monday are designed to save an estimated $6.5 billion.

The plan will also close 250 of the nearly 500 mail processing centers and also close about 3,700 local post offices.

In all, 100,000 postal employees could lose their jobs as a result of the various closures.

The changes to take place next spring will mean for the first time in 40 years, a stamped letter may not arrive at its destination the next day.

About 42 percent of first-class mail is now delivered the following day, according to the postal service.

Following the changes, about 51 percent of all first-class mail is expected to arrive in two days, with most of the remainder delivered in three days.

It could slow delivery of all mail, from checks to time-sensitive newspapers and magazines. It could also add to the cost of mail order prescription drugs.

"It's a potentially major change, but I don't think consumers are focused on it and it won't register until the service goes away," said Jim Corridore, an analyst with S&P Capital IQ who tracks the shipping industry, told the Associated Press.

"Over time, to the extent the customer service experience gets worse, it will only increase the shift away from mail to alternatives. There's almost nothing you can't do online that you can do by mail," he added.

The postal service has already announced a 1 cent increase to first-class mail, which will go up to 45 cents beginning Jan. 22.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has said the agency must make cuts of $20 billion by 2015 to be profitable.

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