The U.S. Postal Service will be cutting approximately 7,500 jobs and closing 2,000 offices within the next two years. The first round of cuts will occur in May. Workers over 50 who have spent 20 years on the job – or employees who are any age who have spent 25 years there – will be offered the option of early retirement, with $20,000 paid over two years.
This is largely a response to the country's decreasing need for mail and an attempt to cut redundancies. Officials say that the moves could save up to $750 million each year.
"We know that we cannot look the same 10 years from now. The mail volume isn't there. We have to adjust to keep up with the mail and customer needs," spokesperson Joanne Veto said in a statement.
The Daily Mail reports that one government study released in February by the Government Accountability Office found that the Postal Service was slower than average to modernize. Some possible new options that could compensate for the cuts are machines that allow people to pick up their mail 24 hours a day or digital mail delivery.
Previously, the Postal Service had tried to make up for lost revenue by raising the rate of first-class mail beyond the pace of inflation, but the bid was denied. The net loss for the agency in 2010 was $8.5 billion.
District offices that are expected to shut down include Columbus, Ohio; Big Sky, Montana; Southern George; Albuquerque, New Mexico; South East Michigan and Northern Illinois, according to ABC News.
The USPS has also asked the government for permission to end Saturday deliveries.
There are around 500,000 employees who work for the Postal Service.
"It's critical that we adjust our workforce to match America's changing communications trends as mail volumes continue to decline," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a statement.