The St. Louis School, a citizenship movement think tank that unifies free market economic principles with conservative social concerns,  predicts that the administration will claim credit for the fourth quarter 5.7% growth figure released at 8:35 am est.  Chris Wallace said “It’s good news for the administration, as well as for the everybody.” However, the unemployment figure is still holding at around 10%.  Obama will likely cite this growth number as evidence to the merits of his policy.   Wallace says “the administration cannot understand why companies are not hiring.”  We can. Uncertainty.

But Obama will once again be 100% incorrect.  This growth occurred in spite of Obama, not because of him.  The positive momentum has come from the people doing more with less, paying more attention to costs, and being more selective in their hiring practices.  The rest of this 5.7% is the reflection of the bloated government spending packages and changes in inventory. 

The St. Louis School uses examples from everyday life to explain the larger economic context.  During tough financial times, service firms tend to become more focused on customer satisfaction and reputation.  ABC moving, a local agent in Chesterfield, Missouri, had nearly 60 employees in 2003.  At this time unemployment was normally around 5%, which is very close to real full employment.  The agent booked as many jobs as possible, while also servicing cooperate accounts with large firms such as Magellan and Southern Illionios University.

Among these 60 employees, over half of them were on probation, and a quarter of them had some outstanding cases pending against them.  The firm had people to do these jobs they booked, work quality suffered because they had many workers who did not care about the  company.  And because their were so many places hiring, ABC’s dispatchers were afraid of letting too many workers go.  Many these employees brought their pathologies to the job, offending or even scaring some of the shippers. 

Though the revenues were high between 2003 and 2005, damage claims cut deeply into the profits.  The operations department was not concerned with reducing expenses.  They would often send the wrong size truck to a job site, which would cost the company hundreds of dollars in fuel and working hours.  Also, they had a $250,000 contract with an in-house mechanic, who also used the company facility to work on other companies’ trucks.

Finally, the strong economy of the mid 2000’s put pressure on the firm to hold to people.  Many who were terminated for disciplinary or performance reasons were quick to claim favoritism or discrimination.  But many of these people are the same ones who cost the agent on going accounts such as Magellan for the very behavior that led to their being fired.  In 2003, background checks were performed, but the results were ignored.

When the economy began to struggle in 2006, many of these people left because they were not high on the work list.  Also the ABC, as well as the national parent company ATLAS, began to have higher standards for background assessments.  This weeded out most of the people who were hurting the firm’s reputation.  More importantly, employees of that firm began to demand that the undesirable element be removed from the company.

Jay, who has been with the agent since 2003, was among many of the firms top employees who change its personal standards.  Jay says “In 2006, I told the dispatcher that I would go to another company unless they stopped having me work with these bad people. Several other of us did the same, and now in 2009, this is a great place to work. And the quality has gone up to. It has taken us three slow years to build up ABC’s name, and we are seeing that many saw us in the light of the criminals they used to send out”.

However, in 2010, ABC was given it’s first performance award from ATLAS. This award was a reflection of low claims, customer satisfaction, and contribution to the national firms public image.  The agents owner said “several agents have closed throughout the nation, but this one is not going anywhere.”  Also, the accounts going in  from the three years of good service, as well as the award notoriety is allowing ABC to hire more people in the winter than in earlier years.

 Jay and his co-workers “created and saved” over thirteen jobs through their performance.  These jobs were not saved by the Recovery Act, they were saved by the people at the firm, dealing with the realities of a slow economy.

Barack Obama had nothing to do with  that!

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