This Service Performance Dashboard provides easy access to recent performance reports shared by the Postal Service with the Postal Regulatory Commission, Congress, the courts (as part of litigation involving mail delays), and FOIA requests. NB: This is not an official USPS website.
Service Standards are the stated goal or operational benchmark for how many days it should take to deliver the mail. The standards are determined by the class of mail, where it originates, where it is going, and other factors, like the way it’s been presorted (or not). Service Standards were first published in January 2007 in accordance with requirements of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. The standards have since been changed a few times, notably in 2012 and 2015 for First Class mail. Since January 2015, the Service Standards — as set forth by federal regulations (39 CFR Part 121) — have been as follows:
- First Class Mail: 1-day, 2-day, and 3-5 days. More specifically:
- Overnight delivery for presorted mail dropped at a mail processing center (called a Sectional Center Facility, or SCF) by the Critical Entry Time (usually 8 a.m.) for delivery to zip codes within the same SCF area (intra-SCF);
- 2 days for mail to be delivered to zip codes within the SCF area (intra-SCF) and also for presorted mail deposited by the CET and transported between two processing centers (inter-SCF) within a six-hour drive;
- 3 days for all other mail within the contiguous U.S.;
- 4 or 5 days for mail originating or destinating outside the contiguous U.S.
- Marketing Mail: 3-10 days, depending on distance, type of preparation, the time the mail is dropped off at a processing center, etc.
- Periodicals: 3-9 days, depending on distance and other factors.
To assist business mailers, the Postal Service publishes maps for each 3-digit zip codes showing the area that qualifies for overnight, 2-day service, 3-day, and so on. These maps can be found here. The Postal Service also shares Excel files showing the service standards for each zip code pair, available on PostalPro.
The Postal Service has proposed changes in these service standards that would slow approximately 40 percent of First Class mail. The changes reduces the use of air transport for 3-day mail and shorten the drive times for inter-SCF 2-day mail from six to three hours. The details can be found here.
Shipping and package services have service standards ranging from two to eight days, and Priority mail products have service standards ranging from one to three days. But these are classified as Competitive products, and the Postal Service does not share service performance data for them, so they are not included in this dashboard.
Service Performance is the percentage of the volume delivered within the service standard for each type of mail. In years past, the Postal Service developed performance scores using a sampling method that involved an outside contractor (IBM), which had people send pieces of mail to and from various locations. In 2015, the Postal Service changed to an internal measurement system that takes advantage of the fact that so much mail is scanned. The new system tracks about two-thirds of the mail — way more than the earlier sampling method — but it does not actually follow a piece of mail from deposit to delivery. Instead, it measures the end-to-end transit time for a “virtual” piece of mail, which includes estimated time for First Mile, actual time for Processing between scans, and estimates for the Last Mile.
Service Performance Targets: Each year the Postal Service sets targets for service performance for the coming year. For First Class mail, the targets are about 95 or 96 percent, and for Marketing Mail and Periodicals, about 92 percent. The Postal Service rarely meets these targets, with First Class averaging about 92 percent and Marketing Mail and Periodicals, about 89 percent. (More details in this PRC report.)
Official sources of performance data
- Quarterly Service Performance Reports shared with PRC
- USPS Service Performance: Most Recent Quarterly Results
- USPS Service Performance Trends (FY19 Q4 to FY20 Q4)
Posted on Google Drive by Save the Post Office
(If the folder is showing as empty, refresh the Drive folder by clicking on the refresh icon on the right.)
The following charts are based on the service performance data recently provided by the USPS, with specific sources as noted. You can use the links above each chart to download the data used to make the chart and a jpg version of the chart itself. If the charts aren’t showing, please refresh your browser.
First Class Mail (Composite), Feb. 2019 – April 2, 2021
Source: Submitted as exhibit in Vote Forward v Louis DeJoy (177-3, April 9, 2021), uploaded to Google Drive here.
Market Dominant Mail, Jan. 2020 – April 2, 2021
Source: Submitted as exhibit in Vote Forward v Louis DeJoy (177-3, April 9, 2021), uploaded to Google Drive here.
First Class Mail (Composite), Feb. 2019 – March 2021
The Postal Service hasn’t reported any weekly service performance data since the week of Feb. 6, 2021, but on March 18, 2021, the USPS issued a press release stating, “For the week of March 6, overall USPS service performance for delivery of First-Class Mail reached 83.7 percent,” The following chart shows the scores through Feb. 6 as previously reported, plus estimates for the weeks leading up to March 6.
Sources: USPS press release (March 18, 2021); USPS FY20Q2-FY21Q2TD Weekly Service Performance: Market Dominant Products Through Week 2/6/2021 (Feb. 18, 2021); and USPS Responses to Chairman’s Information Request No. 6, Question No. 6 (Feb. 4, 2021), spreadsheet showing service performance for First-Class Mail, Marketing Mail, and Periodicals on a weekly basis for the period FY 2019, FY 2020, and the first quarter of FY 2021 (Oct. 2018 – Dec. 2020).
First Class Mail, single piece, First Quarter of FY20 v. Q1 FY21
On March 18, 2021, the Postal Service provided the PRC with an alternate version of the service performance reports it had originally submitted on February 9, 2021. The earlier version had shown the data corresponding to the Postal Service’s new organizational structure (with no District data). On Feb. 23, 2021, the Commission asked to see the data corresponding to the earlier organizational structure of Areas and 67 Districts. Here are three charts based on these reports.
The first chart shows service performance for single-piece First Class Mail with a 2-day service standard for the sixteen districts that saw the largest drop in scores from the first quarter (Oct-Dec) of FY 2020 to the first quarter of FY 2021.
The second chart shows service performance for single-piece First Class Mail with a 3-5 day service standard for the sixteen districts that saw the largest drop in scores from the first quarter (Oct-Dec) of FY 2020 to the first quarter of FY 2021.
The third chart shows service performance for single-piece First Class Mail with a 3-5 day service standard for the sixteen districts that saw the smallest drop in scores from the first quarter (Oct-Dec) of FY 2020 to the first quarter of FY 2021.
First Class Mail, single piece, with a 3-5 day service standard, Quarterly FY 2018-FY2021.
The following chart is based on the quarterly service performance reports submitted to the PRC, updated through the data provided on March 18, 2021. It shows service performance for single-piece First Class Mail with a 3-5 day service standard over the past couple of years for some of the districts with the lowest scores in Q1 FY21.
Periodicals, First Quarter of FY20 v. Q1 FY21
Market Dominant Mail, Jan. 2020 – Feb. 2021
Source: USPS Responses to Chairman’s Information Request No. 6, Question No. 6 (Feb. 4, 2021), spreadsheet showing service performance for First-Class Mail, Marketing Mail, and Periodicals on a weekly basis for the period FY 2019, FY 2020, and the first quarter of FY 2021 (Oct. 2018 – Dec. 2020), disaggregated for each USPS geographic Area and the nation.
First Class Mail by Service Standard, March 2020 – Dec. 2021
Source: USPS Responses to Chairman’s Information Request No. 6 Question No. 20 (Feb. 4, 2021) spreadsheet showing weekly service performance for First-Class Mail disaggregated into presort and single piece, letters/cards and flats, and mail with an overnight (ON) 1-day service standard, a 2-day standard and a 3-5 day standard.
First Class Mail Variance, April 2020 – Dec. 2020
Source: USPS Responses to Chairman’s Information Request No. 6, Question No. 20 (Feb. 4, 2021) spreadsheet showing weekly service performance for First-Class Mail disaggregated into presort and single piece, letters/cards and flats, and mail with an overnight (ON) 1-day service standard, a 2-day standard and a 3-5 day standard, with variance data for plus-10 days. (Variance reports encompass the “tail of the mail” — the mail that was delivered after the service standard’s expectations of 2 or 3 days.)
First Class Mail, FY 2010 – FY 2020
To provide some historical context, here’s a table showing service performance for First Class mail over the past ten years. As the table shows, overnight and 2-day mail averages about 95 percent on time, while 3-5-day scores much lower, bringing the composite average for First Class to about 92 percent. The big drop in 2015 was associated with the network operational changes implemented that year, which caused service disruptions and a decline in performance even though service standards were reduced that year as well. The causes for the decline in performance since 2017 are unclear and subject to debate.
Source: Comments of the Association for Postal Commerce and Delivery Technology Advocacy Council on FY2020 Report and FY 2021 Plan (March 1, 2021) (link)
First Class Mail Volumes by Service Standards
The Postal Service does not provide the PRC with data showing the proportion of First Class mail delivered according to each service standard (overnight, 2-day, and a 3-5 day), but here are a couple of charts that show estimates. Note that over 99 percent of the 3-5 day mail is actually 3-day, with days 4 and 5 applying to mail sent or received outside the contiguous U.S.
The following table shows the proportion of First Class mail that was subject to each service standard. The chart shows the effects of changes in service standards that took place in 2012 (“interim standards”) and 2015 (“final standards”). These changes eliminated overnight delivery for all but a portion of presort mail and shifted some 2-day mail to 3-day. The numbers for 2015 are for the first quarter of the fiscal year and do not reflect the changes in service standards that took place that year, but they can be seen in the numbers for 2020.
Sources: 2005: N89-1 Advisory Opinion (p. 1); 2011-2015: USPS MTAC presentation (which cites FY2005 & FY2014: 2014 Fact Sheet; FY2011: 9/21/11 Federal Register notice; 2015: MTAC FCM Focus Group meeting); 2020 and proposed, USPS Delivering For America 10-year plan.
The following table was created using the Service Performance Aggregation data and Cost Revenue Analysis data that the USPS shares annually with the PRC. Note that this methodology uses actual measurements of volume, so it produces somewhat different results compared to the previous table. For example, it shows the volume of First Class with an overnight standard falling to 30 percent in 2011, before the “interim” service standards went into effect. In any case, the workbook for this chart is here.
Source: PRC Service Performance Aggregation data and Cost Revenue Analysis data.