October 22nd, 2008
05:35 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Sweet and Sour

Erica Hill | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Mass layoffs in September are at the highest level we’ve seen since 9/11, according to the Labor Department. Fantastic. Manufacturing accounts for 28 percent of the mass cuts – the sector is also responsible for more than a third of unemployment insurance claims last month. The head of one outsourcing firm says large com[panies are using a “shotgun approach” – not exactly a comforting assessment.

And there could be more bullets in those guns. Sue Murphy, manager for National Human Resources Association in Nashua, N.H., says companies have to prioritize. "The companies look at the nice-to-haves and the must-haves, and the employees that are not essential will be up for review," Murphy said. "A lot of quality people will be out of work."

Fewer jobs, less money to go around on payday, your retirement funds in the toilet, looming heating bills…and a wedding ring returned four decades after it went missing. Time for your afternoon pick-me-up! Let’s leave the economy behind for a moment and focus on your sweet tooth. I once mentioned in the daily newsletter for my show on Headline News that my afternoon pick-me-up was peanut M&Ms. I’m trying to switch from the chocolate (and protein-filled peanuts!) to a healthier snack of good news. Care to tag along?

I am a sucker for a sweet love story. When you’ve got Prince Charming, Cinderella, and a wedding ring down the drain, you know it’s a recipe for sugary, mushy goodness. Enjoy!

If the Zartarians didn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, I have one more treat that just may quench your craving. With a name like Sweet Miss Giving’s bakery, how could this place not be great?! The beauty of this Chicago bakery is that the good extends far beyond the baked goods; the sweet shop is staffed by formerly homeless adults with disabilities. Half of the profits go to helping homeless and disabled Chicagoans. In Windy City Mayor Richard Daley’s words, “"The bakery goods are very good.” I’m sold. And hungry.

Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Marylou

    Hi Erica
    I am retired, facing a loss of pension and benefits, my investments have disappeared and I NEED OBAMA to win.

    October 22, 2008 at 10:04 pm |
  2. Gisselle

    Hi Erica!
    Amazing stories, especially the one about the Zatarians and the missing ring. I love happy endings and this one was sweet indeed.

    Thank ya!

    October 22, 2008 at 10:01 pm |
  3. Sara.Ro

    Hi Erica!
    Like always your notes , full of visual savour are welcome as a rainbow after a heavy rainy days.

    October 22, 2008 at 9:57 pm |
  4. ralph

    yes keep them tax cuts coming since trickle down has failed along with poloices of republican party 4 times in a roe. Has any republican stopped to think that bush tax cuts are an item McCain has flip flopped like a barracuda on? Since the McCain campaign is so good at predicting the future and forgetting the past let me guess what the future of Trickle Down tax Cuts that REPUBLICAN Herbert Hoover created and used before the great depression with uh great depression results. McCain the maverick reach across the isle capitulating with Ho Chi Minh types or commies will fight long and hard to be Bi Partisan enough to convince the Democratic congress to get rid the trickle down non functioning create no jobs run up the national debt Bush Tax Cuts while he sits in the oval office taking a nap from the 30 second phone call that ended these spread around the debt tax cuts. What you say you voted for him on taxes for these cuts-Sucker swing on by and see what his ex con felon buddy gordon liddy has to say. He'll say you should have bought gold.

    October 22, 2008 at 8:36 pm |
  5. JC-Los Angeles

    With retirement funds and stocks in the toilet, perhaps Joe the Plumber will find endless work, hire the fired and help turn around our moribund economy.

    I'd like to suggest that Sweet Miss Giving's be a mandatory destination for anyone seeking an executive position in corporate america.

    They offer a good product, hire solid individuals and actually give back; imagine that.

    Keep up the great work.

    October 22, 2008 at 8:12 pm |
  6. Will in California

    Hi Erica,

    Why choose that bakery in Chicago when Lou Malnati's, one of the original and maybe the best deep dish pizza pie joints in the nation, is in the same neighborhood. They even have ice cream pizza (under-cooked chocolate chip cookie with ice cream and fixins). Get this, they deliver by mail!!! Eric, beware of your "little stinker", as you so lovingly call your cute son, just might be pushing you out of the way to get to that pizza pie, while you're watching a good movie. Also, Erica, you can wash all that wonderful pizza and homemade ice cream pizza down with ice cold Zima (being discontinued). In the words of the wise Nacho Libre (a possible favorite miovie for your son), "it is especially delicious".

    Some of my faves: The Princess Bride or The Notebook

    As for "The Notebook", you can debate whether James Garner's character is really Noah (Allie's true love), or Lon, the war hero she nursed back to health, pretending to be Noah, the only person who can jar her memory and the one she truely loves. Just look at the similarity of Garner to the rich dark-haired war hero and who Allie's offspring really look like, to light-haired Noah. Was reading another man's stories, the only way that a loving husband could bring back his wife? I like to spark debate.

    October 22, 2008 at 8:11 pm |
  7. Larry

    Is Barack going to Chicago because its the 'political capital of Black America'?

    October 22, 2008 at 8:11 pm |
  8. Lilibeth

    My afternoon snack is a Nature Valley sweet and salty nut granola bar. I need this because my lunch is a honey crisp apple. I'm trying to eat healthy. But by 3:00, I'm starving. Can't wait for dinner...

    October 22, 2008 at 8:00 pm |
  9. Lorraine, Oakland CA

    Hey Erica to put a twist on your story, I am a Human Resource professional and I recently had to lay off 30% of the workforce at 3 different locations, know what helped me get through those stressful conversations? Thats right tasty Penut M&M's, I have eaten at last a bag a day for the last 6 weeks..talk about sweet and sour...

    October 22, 2008 at 7:43 pm |
  10. Michelle

    It is really scary when hearing about layoffs.
    There is way too much sour news on that.
    But I did come across some sweet animal
    video of tigers swimming with humans at
    a park in Florida. It is on telegraph.com.uk.
    It is like some of the coolest video ever.
    I know you guys can not resist awesome
    animal video.

    October 22, 2008 at 7:39 pm |
  11. Megan Dresslar (Shoreline, Wa)

    Hi Erica......
    I love this...... Zartarians really good candy. I love bakery. that is my favorite I ate....... Thanks for the story about Zartarians. I can't wait to eat this. I am hoping hungry!!!!! Also, thanks for sharing with me........

    October 22, 2008 at 7:21 pm |
  12. Tony, Tennessee

    One blogger suggests "getting rid of the unions" because they "have made it impossible to make affordable products." Then, he notably shifts the blame; "The real problem is the greed of these American company execs."
    If I understand his arguement, the problem is the American workers are over paid and the owners of the companies are greedy.
    So, wouldn't getting rid of the unions just mean that these greedy execs would just lower the wages of the middle class (LOL) workers and use the savings to buy a bigger yacht or larger mansions?

    October 22, 2008 at 7:18 pm |
  13. Presley

    I LOVE the dark chocolate peanut M&M's, dark chocolate has antioxidants, see it's HEALTH FOOD!
    Don't abandon the M&M's!!!

    (And now I need some after your recap of how utterly sad our economy is.
    I can still afford them, for now.)

    October 22, 2008 at 7:15 pm |
  14. Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    Erica: Loved the Zatarian story! How cool was that. I'm surprised your new snack isn't Zagnuts! Ha! I'm a big peanut M&M's fan too but my all time chocolate weakness is chocolate covered pretzels. So, for a snack, I mix up peanuts with raisens, dried cranberries, pretzels, sunflower seeds, sometimes sesame sticks and sprinkle in some plain M&M's. You still get your chocolate fix but you don't feel as guilty eating it. Good Luck!

    October 22, 2008 at 7:03 pm |
  15. Paula, Indiana

    Thanks for ending your article on a sweet note. We all know too well the bitter taste of Wall Street's greed. I live near Chicago and plan on going to visit the Bakery. What a wonderful idea... so full of sugar, spice, and especially hope.

    October 22, 2008 at 6:49 pm |
  16. Vicky, ON, Canada

    Erica, Glad the Zatarain family got the ring back after all these many years, but the story about Sweet Miss Givings was a gem. This is a true love story... I think even better than Cinderella and Prince Charming. Sounds like the mayor has made a few trips for the bakery goodies!

    October 22, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  17. xtina, chicago IL

    oops, I meant to add to my comments that I think it's a good thing to bring Barack Obama to Chicago on Election Night, win or lose, because his presence will mean tourists will follow; and our city of Chicago budget needs major amts. of cash .

    October 22, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  18. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Hi Erica,
    My snack of the day is an apple...Let's put it this way, no matter how good an apple a day is for you, I'd fly that apple out the window for some M&M peanuts any day of the week...Don't discard the M&Ms lightly, they need their voice heard. A sugarless world would be a Globe of cottonless candy..Not a pretty picture! Happy Wednesday.

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    October 22, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  19. infoseek

    Hi Erica,

    Why hasn't there been massive state and local governmental employment cuts? Aren't many state and local government spending based on pre-financial collapse housing prices? Aren't they all in dire financial troubles?

    October 22, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  20. Stephen - Kentucky

    If you want to find more jobs in America, then we're going to have to get rid of or break down the massive unions. UAW for example, have made it impossible to make affordable products.

    Second, and more important, anyone who's driven an American vehicle lately knows what a piece of garbage they are. Ride nice in the beginning, break down often and are expensive to repair. Not to mention the lack of longevity.

    Compare our cars and trucks to that of the Asian market and you'll see our stuff is garbage most of the time.

    The real problem is the greed of these American company execs. All the execs think they need huge milti-million dollar paychecks. And they all get a pass from the press when they move their (our) money and jobs overseas. Why should a presidential candidate have to bring it up? Why does the press let it go un (or under) reported?

    October 22, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  21. xtina, chicago IL

    Thank you for bringing national attention to the Sweet Miss Givings bakery. The other news from Chicago is that Barack Obama is charging reporters between $700 and $1800 (depending on how many phone lines and internet connections they want) to cover his big love-fest on the lakefront Election Night.

    October 22, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  22. EJ (USA)

    You know there's a brand called Zatarain – they make New Orleans style dishes/frozen foods. I tasted the yellow rice w/blackened chicken the other day and I was hooked. ... but I guess you were talking about a happy couple – not a spicy frozen food brand.

    October 22, 2008 at 6:08 pm |
  23. Brian Cox

    Would somebody credible please talk about Diebold and the like? Who cares about this election IF the results can be flipped by a small group of one party or the other? Don't leave this topic up to the internet crazies and the conspiracy theorists, Please!

    October 22, 2008 at 5:56 pm |
  24. darko

    THIS is why Obama's economic plan doens't work.

    Raising taxes on these large corporations or ANY business, escpecially in economic downturns causes increased job loss. It also promotes the idea of them leaving the US for tax havens.

    As jobs go, so goes the economy...

    Giving average joe $500, $1000 or even $2000 in 'tax cuts' is pointless if he loses his job.

    Cutting taxes creates jobs. History continually backs this up. More people working equals more money being spent. The economy grows. Govt receives more tax revenue from the increased spending and income taxes. There are less relying on govt support. More money is flowing into social security.

    Cutting taxes and increasing govt revenue...what's not to like about that?

    October 22, 2008 at 5:52 pm |
  25. Annie Kate


    Both are great stories; I like the bakery one in particular. Now when you stop and buy baked goods from them you can ease your guilty conscience over buying foods that are not on your diet with the knowledge that you have helped homeless disabled people get back on their feet. How sweet it is!

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 22, 2008 at 5:52 pm |
  26. Dee from CT

    Awwww ... I wonder if they can package that type of gooey Zartarian sweetness?

    October 22, 2008 at 5:49 pm |