Monday, June 22, 2009

Cookie Dough ... and the Missing Ingredient

It's a small thing, really, in the overall picture. Last month, the economy lost more than 300,000 jobs. That's an enormous figure, but it's the smallest monthly job loss we've seen in more than half a year and it's more than 100,000 fewer jobs lost than economists had predicted.

That isn't the small thing I'm talking about, though.

The small thing I'm talking about is the layoff of more than 200 workers at a Nestle plant in Danville, Va. Now, losing 200 jobs is not a good thing. And it isn't small to the people who lose their jobs. But, in an economy that has already seen 5.7 million lost jobs since December 2007, another 200 is a drop in the bucket.

The workers who will be laid off have been producing refrigerated cookie dough, which has been linked to E. coli infections in 30 states.

Nestle voluntarily recalled the rest of the cookie dough. No fatalities have been reported, but more than two dozen people have been hospitalized.

The unemployment rate in Danville is 14.3%.

Danville is near the state's southern border. Straddling the state's northern border is Washington, D.C., where the primary newspaper is the Washington Post. And in today's Washington Post, Michael Fletcher observed that new jobs are the "missing ingredient" in the recovery.

He wonders where the new jobs will come from.

Well, for awhile, anyway, I wouldn't expect much help from the Nestle plant in Danville.

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