The implosion of the housing and financial sectors has wiped out much of the economic progress achieved over the past 10 years. Consumers continue to cut back their spending as they cope with
rising un-employment, falling home values and shrinking investment
portfolios. Amid such pullback, combined with shareholder pressure, falling
profits, and uncertain future demand, corporate cost-cutting has accelerated
in recent months. All this is contributing to the longest and steepest recession since the 1930s.