WASHINGTON DC: The US Postal Service is feeling the effects of the country's sluggish economy as lower mail volumes and spiralling fuel costs resulted in a $1.1 billion (€710m; £564m) loss during fiscal Q3.

The agency says total mail volume during the quarter was 48.5 billion pieces, a 5.5% decrease on the same period last year.

Operating revenues were down 2.4% at $17.9bn, while operating expenses – in particular fuel costs for transport - were up year-on-year by one percent to £19bn.

Despite the financial difficulties, the Postal Service says its delivery times have improved.

Overnight service was 97% on-time, up from 96% the same period last year. Two-day service was 95% on-time, up from 93%, and three-day service was 94% on-time, up from 91% last year.

Data sourced from USA Today / Associated Press; additional content by WARC staff