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The seasonal peak in postal employment

The end-of-year holidays create the busiest business season for both brick-and-mortar and online retailers. That includes a lot of doorstep package deliveries. When you add Christmas cards and family newsletters to the month of December, you get peak volume for postal traffic.

How, you may ask, can those proverbial couriers swiftly complete their appointed rounds despite the seasonal snow, rain, (scant) heat, (early dusk) gloom, and (shall we add) the highest level of year-round e-commerce activity? The FRED Blog has the answer: By adding more couriers to their ranks during the holidays.

The FRED graph above shows the monthly number of persons employed by the U.S. Postal Service over the past 10 years. The solid green line shows the employment figures recorded every month, and the dashed red line shows the same figures after adjusting them for the predictable and periodic increases and decreases in employment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports both sets of data, facilitating a more accurate analysis of monthly employment figures throughout the year.

As we wrap up 2022, we can look to the past 10 December peaks in the green line to predict this year’s maximum postal worker employment. Visit us at the FRED Blog a week from today as we start a new year of interesting data highlights.

How this graph was created: Search FRED for “All Employees, U.S. Postal Service.” There are two series with that name, but notice the units: One reports “seasonally adjusted” and the other reports “not seasonally adjusted” in thousands of persons. Start with the former. Next, click the “Edit Graph” button and use the “Add Line” tab to add the latter.

Suggested by Diego Mendez-Carbajo.

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