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Chrysler Shutting Down Production For One Month

Ailing U.S. automaker Chrysler says it is closing its 30 manufacturing plants for at least one month, starting this Friday, because of the credit crisis and dwindling sales.

Chrysler, the nation's third-biggest auto manufacturer, said Wednesday the earliest that the plants will reopen is January 19. The company estimates that between 20 to 25 percent of its volume has been lost due to the credit situation and that sales plunged 47 percent in November.

Chrysler and General Motors say they could collapse within weeks without government aid. U.S. President George Bush has said his administration is trying to craft a plan to aid the automakers in an "expeditious way." Chrysler, GM, along with Ford, are known as the Big Three automakers.

On Wednesday, the president told the Fox news network a decision on helping the ailing automakers needs to be made "relatively soon" and that he is looking at all options.

The White House opposed using money designated for the financial industry until recently, when the U.S. Senate defeated a plan to provide emergency aid to carmakers.

Separately, a new poll says two-thirds of Americans have been hurt by the recession, are worried about maintaining their lifestyle, and think the nation is in an economic decline.

The survey by ABC News and The Washington Post questioned about 1,000 people earlier this month.

Those concerns were reinforced Wednesday when one of the largest U.S. securities firms, Morgan-Stanley, posted a loss of more than $2 billion for a recent three-month period. The firm blamed "exceptional market conditions" for the loss.