A temporary 6 percent increase for first-class mail will take effect Jan. 26

Thursday, December 26, 2013 | 6:38 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The price of most U.S. mail will see a 6 percent increase on Jan. 26, with a first-class stamp jumping from 46 cents to 49 cents.

The increase is temporary, lasting for two years, in order to help the U.S. Postal Service recoup losses suffered during the recent recession.

The reimbursement for losses between 2008 and 2011 amounts to $2.8 billion, reflecting a drop in volume of 25.3 billion pieces of mail, according to a release from the Postal Regulatory Commission.

The commission approved the request for a temporary price increase on Tuesday but declined to make it permanent, according to the release.

The overall 6 percent increase consists of  1.7 percent adjustment for inflation and a 4.3 percent increase intended to offset recessionary losses.

Forever stamps can be used at the present rate, as long as they are purchased before Jan. 26, said Gail Adams, a communication specialist with the regulatory commission.

Rates for bulk mail, ad circulars, magazines and other periodicals will rise 6 percent, a decision opposed by publication groups.

It will cause a substantial effect on magazines, newspapers and advertising companies, said Kent Ford, spokesman for the Missouri Press Association.

This might also cause some publications to lose its subscribers, Ford said, if the cost is passed along to consumers.

The Postal Service is an independent agency that does not depend on tax money for its operations but is subject to congressional control, The Associated Press reported. Under federal law, it can't raise prices more than the rate of inflation without approval from the commission.

Supervising editor is Jeanne Abbott.


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