Letter and package delivery is the method by which letters, packages, and other materials—mail—are delivered to homes and business every day. Letter and package carriers for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and delivery companies such as FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) visit the homes and offices of millions of Americans daily, clerks and postmasters wait on customers at their local post offices, and thousands of employees work behind the scenes to process and deliver bills, letters, postcards, newspapers, catalogs, packages, and other communications.
Although employees are concentrated in bigger cities, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Houston, employment opportunities are available in cities and towns across the United States. In 2015, the U.S. Postal Service and the two largest private delivery firms, United Parcel Service and FedEx, employed close to 1.5 million workers worldwide combined, including many part-time package handlers and sorting staff, as well as temporary workers hired for peak periods, including the Christmas holidays.
Despite an enormous volume of mail and packages handled—154.2 billion pieces by the USPS; 4.3 billion pieces by FedEx; and 4.7 billion pieces by UPS—employment growth is expected to remain stable or even decline in the case of the USPS. Technology has reduced the need for many of the traditional services provided by the Postal Service, such as delivery of advertising, catalogs, and letters, all of which are now possible online and via e-mail. The slow economy has also dampened individual and business use of high-priced express deliveries in favor of cheaper, two-day and other options. Still the letter and package delivery industry is expected to remain stable and offer employment opportunities, especially to those willing to join a company on the ground floor.