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During the financial crisis, consumers moved away from fast, costly shipping services and chose slower, cheaper options instead. That trend hit FedEx—and particularly its prodigious Express business segment—hard. Under Fred Smith, the company has addressed that problem more quickly than expected, offering buyouts to 3,600 employees. (Express revenue actually increased by 4%, to $6.9 billion, for the year ended in September.) That effort, along with the release of a new, fuel-efficient air fleet, is expected to help boost profits to the tune of $1.6 billion by the end of 2016. The company plans to hire 50,000 seasonal workers for the upcoming holidays, up from 40,000 a year ago. —C.Z.