MINNEAPOLIS - As many as 2,000 Cargill employees lost their jobs in company layoffs this week. Cargill confirms it has cut the positions, issuing a statement which says, in part, "these actions are in response to the continued weak global economy."
The company, which has its headquarters in Minnesota, is a food and agricultural giant, and employs 138,000 people worldwide.
Employees we talked with say they were called in yesterday--the first of the month--and let go without warning, asked to leave the building immediately.
They say they were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement, which prevents them from speaking publicly about the cuts.
Mike Fernandez, Cargill Corporate Affairs corporate vice president, responded in the company's written statement.
"As economic conditions change, so must we," Fernandez said. "Regrettably, this impacts talented people who have made important contributions to our company. These are difficult decisions but are necessary to better position the company for continued growth."
The layoffs come just as the US unemployment rate is improving. It's now at 8.6 percent, the lowest it's been since March 2009.
President Obama says that number is a sign the nation's economy is getting better, and he says he now has a plan to create tens of thousands of additional jobs for construction workers.
But the layoffs at Cargill and elsewhere still leave millions of Americans without work, including some who have lost their jobs more than once.
" I was just back from maternity leave with my daughter, and they called me in and handed me the pink slip," said Veronica Donatelle, who was laid off in January 2009, and again just last month from her job at the Lowe's store in Rogers. "It was bittersweet then, and it's bittersweet now."
While the drop in the unemployment rate is good news, it does have a downside: Those numbers fell partly because about 300,000 workers simply stopped looking for jobs.
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