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New Postage Rate Increases Now in Effect

Unless you’ve been hoarding Forever Stamps in the utility drawer, you’ll now have to pay 1 cent more for first-class postage on items weighing an ounce or less.

The United States Postal Service — known as the second-largest private employer behind Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), and in financial straits about as severe as those suffered by General Motors (NYSE:GM) before it was bailed out — faces a projected $238 billion deficit over the next 10 years. Its rate hike for letters, which took effect on Sunday, is among several new USPS rate increases intended to help offset some of that.

As InvestorPlace writer Jonathan Berr pointed out last fall, shortly after the USPS announced the rate increases, the service is trying, perhaps futilely, to stave off insolvency through jobs cuts and post office closings over the next three years.

USPS did propose raising first-class mail postage by 2 cents back in 2010, the Los Angeles Times notes, but the move was blocked at the time by the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent government agency charged with overseeing the postal service.

Other USPS rate increases that took effect Sunday: the cost to mail a postcard will increase 3 cents, to 32 cents; the fee for mailing letters to Canada and Mexico will rise 5 cents, to 85 cents; and the cost of mailing a letter to other countries will rise 7 cents, to $1.05. Click here for current USPS price lists.

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