For years, the general public was creating a false economy by easy credit, refinancing their homes and spending their equity on vacations, cars, yada yada yada. When [U]that[U] gravy train ran out, consumer spending dropped like a rock. The mindset went from, "We're in the money!!" to "What the hell happened to my money??"
As consumers regain confidence in the economy, they'll start spending again. (They've started.) But until then, why would corporations create jobs? They're still making hard decisions on who to lay off and what plants/locations to shut down.