WASHINGTON (AP) – Economic woes are forcing the post office to delay release of several new postage stamps scheduled for this year.

Battered by rising costs and declining mail volume, the Postal Service lost $2.8 billion last year and is facing even larger losses this year, despite a rate increase – to 44 cents for first-class mail – scheduled to take effect May 11. “Given the state of the economy they made the decision to take another look at the 2009 program and have decided to make these modifications,” spokesman Roy Betts said.

Set four of the “Flags of Our Nation” series has been postponed until 2010, Betts said. The postponed set includes the flags of Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and North Carolina. It was not clear if that means flag stamps that had been planned for 2010 will also be delayed.

In addition, a stamp honoring American painter Edward Hopper and a holiday stamp featuring an angel playing a lute have been dropped from the 2009 plans. Betts said it has not been determined when they might be rescheduled.

On the Net:

U.S. Postal Service: http://www.usps.com

AP-ES-03-17-09 1129EDT

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.