Postal service workers held about 500,900 jobs in 2020. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up postal service workers was distributed as follows:
- Postal service mail carriers - 317,700
- Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators - 100,400
- Postal service clerks - 82,800
The largest employers of postal service workers were as follows:
- Postal service - 100%
Postal service clerks and mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators work indoors, typically in a post office. Mail carriers mostly work outdoors, delivering mail in all kinds of weather. Although mail carriers face many natural hazards, such as extreme temperatures and wet or icy roads and sidewalks, the work is not especially dangerous. However, repetitive stress injuries from lifting and bending may occur.
Most postal service workers are employed full-time. However, overtime is sometimes required, particularly during the holiday season. Because mail is delivered 6 days a week, many postal service workers must work on Saturdays. Some also work on Sundays.
Overall employment of postal service workers is projected to decline 9 percent from 2020 to 2030.
Despite declining employment, about 31,900 openings for postal service workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. All of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
Employment may be adversely affected by the decline in First-Class Mail volume caused by the continued increase in the use of automated and electronic bill pay and email. The use of automated “delivery point sequencing” systems that sort letter mail directly reduces the amount of time that carriers spend on mail sorting.
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.
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.
The median annual wage for postal service workers was $51,730 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $38,880, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $67,230.
Median annual wages for postal service workers in May 2021 were as follows:
- Postal service mail carriers - $52,440
- Postal service clerks - $52,290
- Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators - $48,550
In May 2021, the median annual wages for postal service workers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
- Postal service - $51,730
Most postal service workers are employed full time. However, overtime is sometimes required, particularly during the holiday season. Because mail is delivered 6 days a week, many postal service workers must work on Saturdays. Some also work on Sundays.