Job losses have become a huge concern in recent weeks, as companies across many parts of the economy have announced thousands of layoffs. AT&T, DuPont, Dow Chemical and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold have said they will make reductions and analysts expect other companies will make reductions.
If one of the automakers declared bankruptcy, some estimate as many as 3 million U.S. jobs could be lost next year.
Light, sweet crude fell on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Investors also grappled with further prospects of diminished confidence in Wall Street. Late Thursday, Bernard Madoff, a former Nasdaq stock market chairman was arrested on a securities fraud charge, accused of running a phony investment business that lost at least $50 billion and that he called a "giant Ponzi scheme," prosecutors said.
"It's not a happy day when you see a $50 billion fraud," said Mayland. "Things like that will just erode the public's confidence in the market."
Markets overseas tumbled in response to the failure of the auto bailout bill. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said European Union leaders have agreed on a $267 billion economic stimulus package to rescue their recession-hit economies. Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso also announced a new stimulus package to shore up his country's economy. The new package includes $111 billion in tax breaks and public financing and $144 billion to prop up financial markets.
Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 5.56%. In afternoon trading, Britain's FTSE 100 fell 1.97%, Germany's DAX index slid 1.92%, and France's CAC-40 declined 2.72%.