The U.S. Postal Service released its full-year report for its fiscal 2011 and, as expected, losses were significant. At its September 30 year-end, the USPS suffered a net loss of $5.1 billion. Yet without the legislation that allowed it to postpone a $5.5 billion payment to pre-fund retiree health benefits, losses would have been $10.6 billion.

The window on that benefit payment, however, is closing fast. The $5.5 billion payment is due November 18 and the USPS says it will default unless more legislation is passed.

Had the benefit payment been factored into the total net loss for 2011, the last four years of losses would have looked like this: $10.6 billion in 2011; $8.5 billion in 2010; $3.8 billion in 2009; and $2.8 billion in 2008.

Mail volume continued to plummet by another 3 billion pieces from 2010. Revenue from the most profitable mail, first-class, declined $2 billion from 2010 to 2011 which, says the USPS, far outpaced any gains from packages and Standard Mail. First-class mail accounts for about 49 percent of revenue.

Shipping services increased 6 percent to $530 million and revenue from Standard Mail was up 2.9 percent to $495 million.

"To return to profitability we must reduce our annual costs by $20 billion by the end of 2015," says postmaster general and CEO Patrick Donahoe in a prepared statement.