The decision by growing numbers of U.S. consumers to leave their cash and credit cards in their wallets is hammering some of the country's top companies.
Corning, the world's largest maker of glass for flat-screen televisions, said Tuesday it is slashing 3,500 jobs, about 13 percent of its workforce. Corning also said its profit for the last three months of 2008 plunged by 65 percent, as sales fell by one-third.
A host of other U.S. companies also report dismal fourth-quarter results.
Valero, the largest U.S. oil refiner, said it lost more than 43 billion as the recession dampened demand for gasoline. Delta, the world's largest airline, said it lost more than $1 billion. And chemical giant DuPont said it lost $629 million - due in part to declining auto sales.
The announcement came just one day after a slew of U.S. companies said they were eliminating 55,000 jobs.
The economic climate is so bad that the world's largest maker of computers for data storage said it will not issue sales or profit forecasts.
EMC Corporation said its fourth-quarter earnings plunged 45 percent compared to a year ago.
Still, some companies are posting enough of a profit to encourage Wall Street investors.
U.S. Steel said its fourth quarter profit surged higher. Profits at credit card giant American Express fell, but beat dire forecasts by some analysts.
Telecommunications leader Verizon said its fourth-quarter earnings rose 15 percent, even though its growth slowed and its traditional, local phone service shrank.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.