Overall employment of postal service workers is projected to decline 28 percent from 2014 to 2024. Automated sorting systems, cluster mailboxes, and tight budgets will adversely affect employment. Employment declines, however, will vary by specialty.
Employment of postal service clerks is projected to decline 26 percent from 2014 to 2024. Employment may be adversely affected by the decline in First-Class Mail volume due to increasing use of automated bill pay and email.
Employment of postal service mail carriers is projected to decline 26 percent from 2014 to 2024. Employment may be adversely affected by the use of automated “delivery point sequencing” systems that sort letter mail directly. This reduces the amount of time that carriers spend sorting, 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 should reduce the need to hire more carriers. In addition, 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, the post office is playing a greater role in the delivery of goods purchased online. An increase in the number of deliverable packages as a result of e-commerce may slow the rate of employment decline for carriers.
Employment of postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators is projected to decline 34 percent from 2014 to 2024. The postal service will likely need fewer workers because new mail sorting technology can read text and automatically sort, forward, and process mail. The greater use of online services to pay bills and the increased use of email should also reduce the need for sorting and processing workers.
Despite declining employment, the need to replace workers who retire will result in some job openings. However, very strong competition can be expected as the number of applicants typically exceeds the number of available positions.
Postal Service Workers
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Total, all occupations
Material recording, scheduling, dispatching, and distributing workers
Postal service workers
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program