business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the Associated Press:

"America’s employers added a solid 223,000 jobs in December, evidence that the economy remains healthy yet also a sign that the Federal Reserve may still have to raise interest rates aggressively to slow growth and cool inflation.

"The December job growth, though a decent gain, amounted to the lowest monthly increase in two years. The unemployment rate remained fell to 3.5 percent, matching a 53-year low, the Labor Department said Friday.

"Last month’s job growth capped a second straight year of robust hiring during which the nation regained all 22 million jobs it lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet the rapid hiring and the hefty pay raises that accompanied it likely contributed to a spike in prices that catapulted inflation to its highest level in 40 years."

•  From the BBC:

"The head of McDonald's has warned staff to expect job cuts in a huge reorganisation that will also see it speed up plans for new restaurants.

"Its boss Chris Kempczinski said the fast food giant was being hurt by an 'outdated and self-limiting' structure.  'We are trying to solve the same problems multiple times, aren't always sharing ideas,' he said.

"In a letter sent to employees globally, it said it would review corporate staffing levels by April.  'There will be difficult discussions and decisions ahead,' the memo said.

"McDonald's employs about 200,000 people in corporate roles and its owned restaurants, with 75% of them outside located outside of the US."

•  Bon Appétit has a piece about social media outrage generated by Ronzoni's announcement that "it would be ceasing production this January of pastina, the star-shaped pasta beloved in so many Italian American households.

"Ronzoni gave little information as to why it would be discontinuing pastina, besides a tweet the brand shared, claiming it was a difficult but unavoidable decision resulting from a problem with its supplier … six separate petitions have formed on to try to save the pasta. Meanwhile, offline pastina lovers have already started hoarding boxes."

Some context from Bon Appétit:

"Pastina literally means 'little pasta' and can refer to any number of miniature pastas, but Ronzoni, founded in 1915 by an Italian immigrant, helped to mainstream the star shape found in pasta bowls across the U.S. It boils in a few minutes because of its small shape and makes a whimsical addition to soups, whether in a chicken-and-stars or a celebratory Italian wedding. It’s often cut from the leftovers of pasta. Scraps of dough, rendered celestial.

"The adoration for pastina starts at an early age. YouTube hosts thousands of videos of users making pastina 'just like nonna did.'  'The Sopranos' references it multiple times; Carmela lovingly calls the dish 'pasteen' when offering to make it for sick family members."