KRWG

Yuki Noguchi

This week marks the busiest time of the year for shipping services like UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service. The post office handled 600 million cards and letters alone on Tuesday, and UPS says it is delivering 300 packages per second, on average.

At one FedEx facility in Washington, D.C., the logistics of last-minute shipping are on full display.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

The jobless rate has declined a bit in the past year, but among veterans who have served in conflict since 2003, it is increasing. The unemployment rate for vets serving since the Iraq war began has risen 1.5 percentage points to more than 12 percent in the past year.

Many veterans say they face a tougher job market than civilians. Tom Tarantino spent a decade in the military, where he served in Iraq and led a platoon. But when he separated from the military in 2007, he spent nearly a year looking for a job.

Second in a two-part series

Businesses keep vast troves of data about things like online shopping behavior, or millions of changes in weather patterns, or trillions of financial transactions — information that goes by the generic name of big data.

First of a two-part report

What do Facebook, Groupon and biotech firm Human Genome Sciences have in common? They all rely on massive amounts of data to design their products. Terabytes and even zettabytes of information about consumers or about genetic sequences can be harnessed and crunched.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

By the time it opened at 9 p.m. Thursday night for Black Friday, the Toys R Us in New York City's Times Square had a line snaking around the corner from its entrance on 44th Street. It went on for two blocks.

Angela Jenkins was there with two of her girlfriends and no kids. "I left my boyfriend with all of our kids ... by himself," she says with a laugh.

"You gotta do what you gotta do," Jenkins says.

When Energy Secretary Steven Chu appears on Capitol Hill on Thursday to defend the Obama administration's solar energy subsidy program, he will face questions about the solar panel firm Solyndra, which went belly up this summer.

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