The U.S. Postal Service said on Wednesday that its net loss for the 2021 fiscal year was $4.9 billion — close to half of the $9.2 billion it lost during the previous year. 

The agency also said that its operating revenue for fiscal 2021 was more than 5 percent higher, an increase of $3.9 billion, than one year earlier. 

The Postal Service said that it saw an increase of $3.5 billion from shipping and package revenue. The agency also noted that revenue from marketing mail had also increased close to 5 percent — about $681 million — compared to the previous year, noting that it was driven in part by political- and election-associated mail.

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The Postal Service noted that it saw less First Class mail for fiscal 2021 and reported a loss of $500 million from the decline. The agency tied the decline to increased online communications, adding that the trend became even more prevalent due to the pandemic.

The postal agency also noted that some of its costs had risen, including its compensation and benefits as well as transportation expenses. Workers’ compensation increased $1.4 billion the past fiscal year, while transportation costs were up $838 million.

“Despite the magnitude of our financial challenges, we are making encouraging progress in correcting the long-term imbalance in postal revenues and expenses, and we expect to see continued improvement as we fully implement the Delivering for America plan, which includes making meaningful progress towards meeting or exceeding 95 percent on-time service performance for all mail and shipping products, which we will achieve once all the elements of the plan are implemented,” Postmaster General Louis DeJoyLouis DeJoyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Arbery case, Biden spending bill each test views of justice Biden nominates two picks to replace members of US Postal Service board Postal Service loss nearly halved MORE said in a statement on Wednesday.

DeJoy’s comments come as his agency faces scrutiny ahead of the upcoming holiday season, when the Postal Service and other postal facilities will see a surge of mail and packages. 

DeJoy told The Wall Street Journal in October that the agency was taking steps to get ready for the busy holiday season, including adding 45 extra facilities to handle packages. Other announced initiatives have included hiring more seasonal workers and adding more than 100 package sorting machines.