TODAY   |  January 26, 2014

Price of first class stamps raised to 49 cents

For the sixth time in the last seven years, the United States Postal Service is raising the cost of mailing a first class letter, from 46 cents to 49 cents. NBC’s Luke Russert reports.

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>>> mailing a letter just got more expensive. with stamp prices going up three cents today, luke russert has more on why the postal service is raising prices again.

>> reporter: pour the sixth time in seven years the postal service is raising the price of mailing a first class letter from 46 cents to 49 cents. it's the largest single hike in more than a decade and will stay in place until 2016 .

>> that's a 6% increase. inflation is one or two percent. that seems to me like a very extreme increase.

>> reporter: why the higher costs? the postal service has lost money for seven straight years, including $5 billion in the last fiscal year, while more potential customers turn to sending mail electronically and online giant amazon flirts with the idea of delivery drones.

>> what you see with big companies that have had this infrastructure in place for a long time, they're slow to mv and slow to change. this temporary raise of rates is really a band-aid on a very big problem.

>> reporter: the changes are eliciting mixed reactions from consumers?

>> not too worried. it's three cents, ki make that happen.

>> it's almost 50 cents . doesn't bother me.

>> it seems high but because so many people use e-mail, they have to raise the funds somehow.

>> reporter: for "today," luke russert , nbc news, washington.