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• The US Postal Service (USPS) has increased the cost of a “Forever” first-class stamp to 55 cents, from 50 cents, a 10 percent price hike that is said to be part of the largest increase in the post office’s history. The cost of flat rate and priority shipping, as well as certified mail, also are going up.

Fortune points out that the US still “has one of the lowest letter rates in the industrialized world. The USPS is an independent organization under the federal government’s executive branch, and does not receive any tax dollars for operating expenses across its nationwide network.” While it has long operated at a deficit - it had a 2018 loss of $3.9 billion - most experts attribute that to onerous pension requirements placed on the post office by Congress.

• The University of Phoenix is out with a new study, keyed to the fact that January is Mental Wellness Month, saying that “more than half (55 percent) of those currently employed say they have experienced job burnout. However, even with the high rate of burnout, employees are not taking time off. Only 34 percent of employees say they have taken days off for mental health compared to 61 percent who say they taken time off for physical ailments.”

According to the study, “Feelings of burnout can be brought on by number of things including heavy workload, workplace stress and lack of recognition and may have a direct correlation with overall job satisfaction. The survey found that only two in five (44 percent) employed U.S. adults are satisfied with their job, and nearly nine in 10 (86 percent) feel worker burnout is connected to job satisfaction.”

The study also notes that “while there has been an increased effort to change the perception of mental wellness, negative stereotypes and barriers still exist that keep people from taking time off for mental health.” Among the reasons cited are that companies don’t view mental health as an acceptable reason to take time off, coworkers will shame or judge them, people are too busy to take time off or fear that someone else will replace them.
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