A recent quality report by the ASQ (American Society for Quality) confirmed that times are tough but may not be as bleak as they appear upon first glance for certain companies.  It states that:

On the one hand are those going into crisis mode, cutting back and de-emphasizing quality initiatives. On the other hand are those that continue to invest in quality and innovation as a competitive advantage even in the face of economic uncertainty.

Additionally, it confirms that the forward-thinking companies are

redoubling certain quality efforts, placing stronger emphasis on preventive actions, increasing commitment to continuous improvement in order to gain competitive advantage, and gaining a clearer quality focus.

The full report is available here – http://www.asq.org/quality-report/reports/quarterly-quality-report-200901.pdf.