Earnings season continued to inflict pain as chemical giant DuPont (NYSE:DD) this morning announced its intention to cut 1,500 jobs. The company reported a weak third quarter this morning, with total company reported earnings at $0.01 per share versus $0.48 per share in the prior year.

Total company third-quarter 2012 earnings, excluding significant items, were $0.44 per share versus $0.69 per share in the prior year, the company announced in a press release

The announced job cuts amount to around 2% of DuPont's work force and will happen over the next 12 to 18 months. The company didn't disclose details of where the cuts would occur. They are part of a restructuring plan to "increase productivity, enhance competitiveness and accelerate growth."

Reuters reports that half the layoffs are due to the weak economy and half would stem from the $4.9 billion sale of the company's car paint business to the Carlyle Group in August.

Declining revenue and one-time items slammed DuPont's quarterly earnings, particularly as demand fell in Europe and Asia. Sales fell far below analyst expectations, plummeting 9% for the quarter. DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman said the company is "addressing these challenges now to position ourselves for improved performance."

Even without one-time items, earnings per  share of $0.32 still fell far below analyst expectations of $0.46 a share. DuPont shares plunged more than 7% in early trading.

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