Employment of Postal Service mail carriers is expected experience little or no change through 2018. Keen competition is expected for mail carrier jobs because of the attractive wages and benefits and relatively low entry requirements.
Employment change. Employment of mail carriers is expected to decline by about 1 percent through 2018. Employment will be adversely affected by several factors. The use of automated “delivery point sequencing” systems to sort letter mail and flat mail directly, according to the order of delivery, reduces the amount of time that carriers spend sorting their mail, allowing them to spend more time on the streets delivering mail. The amount of time carriers save on sorting letter mail and flat mail will allow them to increase the size of their routes, which will reduce the need to hire more carriers. Additionally, the Postal Service is moving toward more centralized mail delivery, such as the use of cluster mailboxes, to cut down on the number of door-to-door deliveries. However, as the population continues to rise and the number of addresses to which mail must be delivered increases the demand for mail carriers in some areas of the country will grow.
Employment and schedules in the Postal Service fluctuate with the demand for its services. When mail volume is high, such as during holidays, full-time employees work overtime, part-time workers get additional hours, and casual workers may be hired.
Job prospects. Those seeking jobs as Postal Service mail carriers can expect to encounter keen competition. The number of applicants usually exceeds the number of job openings because of the occupation's low entry requirements and attractive wages and benefits. The best employment opportunities for mail carriers are expected to be in areas of the country with significant population growth as the number of addresses to which mail must be delivered continues to grow.