THE announcement by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson yesterday was a bolt from the blue.
Today, 400 employees and their families are facing an anxious and uncertain future as the Ethicon factory is slated for closure.
Union leaders point out that many of the staff have given years of long-service to the company which only serves to make this situation even more devastating.
The loss of such a high number of jobs would be felt anywhere but in a community like Livingston, the impact will be even greater.
West Lothian is sadly well used to coping with major closures and job losses following the likes of Motorola and NEC.
While this may be of little comfort to the Ethicon staff today, the area has bounced back before and it will do again.
Lessons have been learned from previous large scale job cuts which will help in the weeks and months ahead.
We are told today that West Lothian Council and the Scottish Government are standing ready to support workers and plot a future for the factory site.
That work should be an absolute priority as the hunt for a buyer begins.
We should hope for the best and prepare for the worst.