Recent Industry Layoffs Raise Questions About Economic Sustainability
When Nestle dangles the promise of jobs to economically depressed rural communities, a rarely asked question is “what happens to those jobs if the bottled water market tanks?”
To 78% of Nestle’s Calistoga workforce, it’s suddenly very clear.
The Calistoga Beverage Company (a Nestle company) just announced it was laying off more than three-quarters of its workforce – the result of a staggering bottled water market (from the Weekly Calistogan):
Feeling a ripple effect from high fuel prices and a tight financial market, Calistoga Beverage Company announced the layoff of 78 percent of its workforce.
“We’ve been experiencing a softening in demand of bottled beverages for some time,” said Calistoga Beverage Company’s Director Chris Canning early Wednesday. “As a result we’re taking action to reduce our workforce.”
This announcement comes on the heels of PepsiCo’s announcement it’s laying off 3,300 nationwide and closing 16 plants. Given the battering the bottled water market’s taken at the hands of a growing consumer movement and a bad economy, even the industry itself suggests more layoffs are coming soon:
“As much as we hate to admit it, ours is a disposable income product,” Canning said. “When times get tough people focus more on meeting their basic needs.”
We’re saddened to see so many workers losing their jobs. To the residents of a small rural town which had built its economic base atop a single industry, a blow like this would be staggering. In fact, it’s the same scenario McCloud already experienced when its timber industry faded away.
Coupled with PesiCo’s massive layoffs, Nestle’s layoff forces us to ask the question: In the face of soaring transportation costs (fuel) and significant questions about the viability of the market, how economically sustainable are bottled water jobs?
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