Business, Finance & Economics

Amid unemployment worries, U.S. postal service delivers bad news on jobs

Unemployment was the focus of Labor Day announcements and U.S. news on Monday, including that the U.S. Postal Service reportedly may have to shut down this winter, it is so low on cash.

The USPS, which by law cannot raise rates or selling items other than mail services in order to boost its finances, will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due this month as it struggles to erase its deficit, which will hit $9.2 billion this year, the New York Times reports.

"Our situation is extremely serious," the postmaster general, Patrick R. Donahoe told the NYT. "If Congress doesn’t act, we will default." 

Donahoe has proposed major changes to help save money, including eliminating Saturday delivery, closing 3,700 post offices, and laying off 120,000 workers.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama challenged Republicans to "put country before party" to boost employment and the economy in a Labor Day speech that was "heavy campaign undertones," according to USA Today.

The speech, coming after a jobs report Friday that showed the economy added no new jobs in August, marking "the first time since 1945 that the government reported a net job change of zero," according to the Associated Press, was largely seen as a preview of the remarks Obama will deliver to Congress on Thursday.

The president has said that his prime-time address to Congress will lay out "a new way forward" for an economic recovery.

On Monday, speaking at an event sponsored by the Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO, Obama said that his plan to boost employment and the economy "will include proposals that previously have had support from both parties," and part of that includes "putting people back to work by repairing roads and bridges," Bloomberg reports.

He emphasized there are more than 1 million unemployed construction workers who are ready to get to work.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, has sent an open letter to Congress and the White House calling for measures designed to increase employment including, according to the AP, "greater oil drilling, quicker road and bridge construction and temporary corporate tax breaks."

If enacted, the chamber estimates the steps could encourage corporations to spend much of the nearly $2 trillion dollars that have accumulated on their balance sheets and generate more than 6 million jobs by 2013, and even more in ensuing years.