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USPS Hiring Update - Temporary Relief Carrier Jobs

The postal service has not been immune to the worldwide economic slowdown. With advertisers scaling back the amount of money they spend on direct-mail advertising, the post office is moving fewer pieces of mail, which means they are earning less in postage.

The postal service earns all of its money through the products and services it sells - it does not receive taxpayer funding from the federal government. As a result, the postal service undergoes business cycles just like private businesses. On March 27, 2009, the Washington Post's Joe Davidson reported that the USPS moved 213 billion pieces of mail in fiscal year 2006, and that in 2012, that number is expected to be down to about 160 billion.

In recent years the USPS has tried to save money in a variety of ways, including allowing a large portion of its workforce to take early retirement. The postal service has also considered closing some offices that house administrative functions. Other proposals the postal service circulated included cutting Saturday delivery - this option seems likely, but it does reflect the economic challenges the service is facing.

Administrative positions are the most likely to be cut. Mail processing supervisors and management positions could also be on the chopping block.

Jobs that appear to be stable in the post office are non-career letter-carrier positions, especially temporary rural route drivers. Although many USPS jobs require several different types of tests, temporary relief carriers are not required to take any kind of exam, but applicants must be US citizens over 18 with a clean driving record.

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Temporary Relief Carrier Jobs (TRC)

TRCs make up the bulk of the current hiring need for the USPS, and the needs are greatest in rural areas. TRCs are hourly, non-career workers who fill in when full-time workers are out sick or on vacation.

They use their own personal vehicles to deliver the mail, and in return, they earn 53 cents per mile or $21.20 a day in addition to their hourly pay, which averages $13.05 per hour. TRCs do not receive health or other benefits, and they have to be on call and available to work whenever someone else calls in sick. They are a little like subsitute teachers. This is not the kind of job you use to get a foot in the door at the post office - it is intended as part-time and temporary only.

To qualify for a temporary mail carrier job, applicants must have a reliable vehicle of their own, a valid driver's license, two years of driving experience and a clean driving record. They must submit to a drug test to meet the USPS drug-free workforce requirements. As with most government jobs, applicants must be US citizens or legal permanent residents.