Washington Post article by Neil Irwin and Zachary A. Goldfarb

U.S. businesses are holding off on hiring, delaying new investments and trimming expenses, creating a new threat to the nation's economy.

Corporate America is reacting to a pullback by consumers and the crisis in the financial system. Businesses are acting defensively, seeking to avoid the massive layoffs and dramatic falloff in profits like those in 2001, when they were in less sound financial shape.

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