Mail delays possible as USPS looks to fix staffing shortage

(East Idaho News)

The United States Postal Service is looking to fill hundreds of positions throughout the state as it deals with a staffing shortage. reported last week that mailboxes were empty for a few days due to severe weather conditions in eastern Idaho. Since we posted the story, several people have emailed regarding USPS staffing issues.

“Last week, there were weather related issues which caused the Postal Service to make adjustments to delivery. However, it’s no secret that the Postal Service is facing current staffing and hiring challenges encountered by nearly every industry,” Kim Frum, a USPS spokeswoman, said in a statement to “During our peak season, massive package volumes and weather also contributed to some delivery issues.”

The peak season refers to the period between Black Friday and New Year’s Day.

“For the 2022 peak season we accepted 11.7 billion packages and pieces of mail (nationwide) and maintained an average delivery time of 2.5 days,” Frum said.

Frum explained volumes have leveled off and operations should be getting back to normal but hiring and staffing issues have remained. The staffing shortage is not just in Idaho but nationwide.

“When a customer doesn’t get daily mail service, we understand their frustration because in addition to being Postal employees, we are also Postal customers,” she said. “We take pride in the more than 200 years of consistent service to the nation and the communities we serve. This is why we are hiring so many employees – because our customers rely on us and we need to get back to reliable, daily mail service.”

Due to the staffing issues, there may be days when a neighborhood might not receive mail, she said. Employees and assignments will then get rotated, and that mail is prioritized for delivery the following day.

“To meet the daily challenges, we are using every available resource at our disposal, including borrowing employees from facilities across the state to match the workload to continue to provide the service our customers deserve,” Frum explained. “The employees we have ‘borrowed’ are usually new to the area and don’t know the routes as well as the regular carriers. In some instances, not all deliveries can be made. But all mail in this instance is sent out the next day to complete delivery.” 

The USPS is required by law to deliver every item sent through the mail and employees are working overtime to meet that requirement, Frum explained.

Job fairs have been held to fill open positions and three are planned in Boise, Eagle and Meridian starting next week.

The need is especially urgent for mail carriers, clerks and mail handlers. Starting pay varies depending on the job but carriers can make between $19 to $20 per hour. There are currently no job fairs planned in eastern Idaho, but there are jobs available in Idaho Falls, Firth, Pocatello, Blackfoot, Rexburg and Preston.

job fair information

Frum said these jobs have excellent pay, full federal benefits and are located in local neighborhoods across the state that allow prospective employees the chance to work near their homes.

Click here if you are interested in a job with USPS. Jobs are posted every other Tuesday.

Frum encouraged people to learn more about delayed mail by clicking here. If mail is suspected to be missing, customers should submit missing mail search requests online.

“We appreciate the patience of our customers and the efforts of employees as conditions change on a day-to-day basis,” Frum said.