Postal Service Hikes Rates

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While very few people were paying attention, the U.S. Postal Service raised its rates.

The basic 44-cent first-class rate stays the same, at least for the first ounce of a letter. But each additional ounce will cost 20 cents, up from 17 cents. Postcards have gone up a penny to 29 cents. Letters to Canada or Mexico increased to 80 cents, up from 75 cents to Canada and 79 cents to Mexico.

Hardest hit will be businesses, because a variety of price changes will now impact advertising, mail, periodicals and comercial packages.

The U.S. Postal Service lost $8.5 billion last year and this week's rate increases, estimated to bring in an added $340 million this fiscal year, are not expected to make much of a dent in the deficit. The Postal Service is limited to increases at or below the rate of inflation.