The Effect of the Postal System on the Economy


Mike Blake

What do we stand to lose if the US Postal Service stops functioning? As it turns out, quite a lot.

Sharon Sun, Photojournalist

The US Postal Service has a long history dating back to 1775, when the Second Continental Congress established Benjamin Franklin as its first Postmaster General. However, among the widespread outbreak of the coronavirus, eyes have begun turning towards the modern post office as it struggles to land sufficient funding. With dropping volumes of shipments as people seek to isolate themselves from outside contact, the US Postal Service is receiving less and less money from shipping fees. As worries arise among the populace about a potential collapse of the Postal Service, let’s take a look at exactly how profound of an effect the post office has on our lives and the economy.

Most recently, relief checks have been released by the government in an effort to support Americans throughout the lockdown. These relief checks arrive by an electronic direct deposit into bank accounts or by a paper check that arrives in the mail. As a result, Americans who rely on paper checks delivered by a postal worker depend significantly on the survival of the postal system to receive a small relief check during this crisis. 

Furthermore, the American reliance on the postal service extends to more than just relief checks during the Covid-19 crisis. According to, postal workers delivered over a billion shipments of prescription drugs in just the preceding year. In particular, during a virus outbreak, halting shipments of medicinal drugs could be dangerous for Americans with existing conditions.

Moreover, according to, the United States Postal Service provides an affordable shipping partner for business, big and small alike. Shipping, being a significant facet of the growing industry of online shopping, is made affordable for smaller businesses by the USPS. While larger companies like Amazon might be able to turn a profit with private carriers, smaller businesses might see shipping costs multiply drastically. By seeing the US Postal Service cease its operations, smaller businesses become negatively impacted. And in a period of time where much of the population prefer to shop from the safety of their homes, shipping becomes more critical as medicine and even groceries traverse the road in a postal truck. 

Wency Li (10) expresses her experience with the Postal Service’s shipping services. “I shop on Amazon a lot and get a lot of packages delivered to me,” she said. “It gets shipped by USPS, which keeps the fare pretty cheap.” 

As Americans all over the country undergo this coronavirus crisis, we shouldn’t lose sight of the Postal Service that serves to support more disadvantaged citizens.