WILMINGTON - DuPont says it will cut 2,500 jobs, mostly serving the U.S. and European automotive and construction markets, due to lower demand linked to the steep global decline in homebuilding, auto sales and consumer spending.

The Wilmington-based chemicals maker also says it will trim 4,000 contractors by the end of this year, with additional contractor reductions expected in 2009.

DuPont Co. is forecasting a 2008 fourth-quarter loss of 20 cents to 30 cents per share, excluding restructuring charges of about 40 cents per share. The company expects 2009 earnings to range between $2.25 and $2.75 per share, anticipating the current global recession will continue well into 2009.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters currently predict quarterly profit of 23 cents per share and fiscal 2009 earnings of $2.80, on average.