USPS employed 634,000 people last fiscal year, according to a financial analysis released by the Postal Regulatory Commission on Monday, its lowest total since fiscal 2015. While the cash-strapped agency has trended toward a smaller workforce over the last two decades—it has slashed 300,000 career workers since 1999—its total number of employees has inched up each year since fiscal 2013.
The Postal Service has in recent years increasingly relied on non-career workers, such as postal support employees and mailhandler assistants, as a cheaper alternative to reduce labor costs as part of efforts to keep pace with shrinking mail revenue. The agency’s non-career staff had grown each year since fiscal 2010, increasing more than 60% by fiscal 2017. Even that cadre of employees shrunk last year, however, dropping by 4,000 employees.