The United States Postal Service (USPS) provides mail delivery services to millions of American consumers and businesses. In fact, it's legally required to serve everyone in the United States, regardless of their location. Whether you live on the East Coast, the West Coast or in a middle state, you can use the USPS to send and receive mail. While most people are familiar with the USPS's basic services, though, there are probably some things you don't know about it.
#1) Executive Branch of the Federal Government
Under the 1971 Postal Reorganization Act, the USPS is classified as an independent organization of the executive branch of the U.S. federal government. That doesn't necessarily mean the USPS is a government organization. Rather, it's a privately operated organization within the federal government.
#2) Benjamin Franklin Was the First Postmaster General
While most known for being one of the country's Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin was also the first postmaster general. In 1737, Franklin established the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) to protect USPS employees and its customers. At the time, criminals were taking advantage of the USPS's mail delivery services to conduct illicit activities. Thanks to Franklin, the USPS was able to improve the safety and security of its services.
#3) Not Funded With Tax Dollars
Although it's a private organization of the federal government, the USPS isn't funded with tax dollars. Rather, the USPS is completely self-funded through the sales of its products and services. To mail a letter, for instance, you must purchase postage. Postage funds go directly towards keeping the USPS up and running.
#4) Third-Largest US Employer
To say the USPS has a large workforce would be an understatement. Statistics show over 630,000 employees work for the USPS, making it the country's third-largest employer. In case you were wondering, the largest employer in the United States is the federal government, with Walmart following closely behind as the second-largest employer.
#5) 900 Million Packages Delivered During the Holidays
The holiday season is the busiest time of year for the USPS. During the months of November and December, the USPS delivers nearly 1 billion packages.
#6) Alternative Fuel Vehicles
In an effort to promote a cleaner environment, as well as cut costs, the USPS has been experimenting with vehicles that use alternative fuel sources. According to the USPS, it now has a fleet of over 40,000 alternative fuel vehicles, including electric, natural gas, liquid propane and hybrid vehicles.
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