Job cuts that have afflicted almost every sector of the economy reached into the oil industry, as the biggest oilfield service providers said they were cutting employees.
Schlumberger Ltd, the world's largest oilfield services company, will eliminate up to 1,000 jobs in North America, or about 5 per cent of its work force, and is looking at cuts elsewhere globally.
Halliburton Co also said it would begin laying off workers, but didn't say how many or when.
Both companies have headquarters in Houston, a city that has boomed as oil prices soared.
During the fourth quarter, crude tumbled from $100 a barrel to $40. That was in sharp contrast to the rest of 2008, when oil prices soared and producers posted record profits.
Oil and gas companies have since scrapped many exploration and production projects, reducing work for companies like Halliburton and Schlumberger.
"We do expect reductions in other parts of the world, but I have no specifics in terms of timing or numbers," Schlumberger spokesman Stephen Harris said on Thursday.
The company, whose principal offices are in Houston, Paris and The Hague, employs 19,000 in North America and 84,000 worldwide.
Halliburton employs more than 55,000 people and also has headquarters in Dubai.