GE to hire 5,000 U.S. veterans, investing in plants

WASHINGTON Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:17pm EST

General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt delivers the opening remarks prior a panel discussion hosted by GE on ''The Future of Manufacturing: Growing American Competitiveness'' at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, February 13, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt delivers the opening remarks prior a panel discussion hosted by GE on ''The Future of Manufacturing: Growing American Competitiveness'' at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, February 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - General Electric Co plans to hire 5,000 U.S. military veterans over the next five years and to invest $580 million to expand its aviation footprint in the United States this year.

The largest U.S. conglomerate unveiled the moves ahead of a four-day meeting it is convening in Washington starting on Monday to focus on boosting the U.S. economy, which has been slow to recover from a brutal 2007-2009 recession.

"We should have the confidence to act and to restore American competitiveness," Chief Executive Jeff Immelt, a top adviser on jobs and the economy to President Barack Obama, said in a statement.

The U.S. unemployment rate -- seen as the main barrier to a move vibrant recovery -- fell to a near three-year low of 8.3 percent in January, helped in part by the manufacturing sector adding about 50,000 workers. Even with that improvement, 23.8 million Americans remain out of work or underemployed, which is keeping the economy a key issue heading into November's presidential elections.

The world's largest maker of jet engines plans this year to open three new U.S. aviation plants, in Ellisville, Mississippi; Auburn, Alabama, and Dayton, Ohio. After cutting headcount significantly during the recession -- as did its major peers including United Technologies Corp and Caterpillar Inc -- GE has added about 9,000 U.S. workers since 2009, and has already announced plans to hire another 4,500 people.

The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company, whose operations range from making loans to mid-sized businesses to manufacturing railroad locomotives, plans to discuss these moves at the Washington meeting. Boeing Co CEO James McNerney and Dow Chemical Co CEO Andrew Liveris are also scheduled to speak.

(Reporting By Scott Malone; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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Comments (8)
Sonnyjc9 wrote:
Just what the Veterans need. All that training and no one wants to utilize it. That is IF they do it and it isn’t just a election year ploy to help Obama.

Feb 13, 2012 6:41am EST  --  Report as abuse
rissey wrote:
Jeff Immelt heads the President’s task force on job creation and economy. GE should review its out sourcing and sub contracting policies to non US competitor countries, other than those programs that demanded offset manufacturing.
Taking 5000 veterans is a wonderful news for those young men and women who served the country and GE and many, at Wall Street, should contribute from their bonuses to assist in employing more of these veterans and middle age, middle class Americans.

Feb 13, 2012 7:32am EST  --  Report as abuse
We are training DOD Engineers for US Swords to Plowshares Program. Creating a SECURE water source, increased crop yields and Vet jobs!
Working systems in US and Haiti!
Would like to do a presintation or call to gain your support in this urgent need for Water,Food Crisis and Jobs!

Feb 13, 2012 8:04am EST  --  Report as abuse
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