February 5, 2009 / 4:02 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-US economy worst since 1970s-GE's Immelt

NEW YORK, Feb 5 (Reuters) - The U.S. economy is in its worst shape since the deep recession of 1974 and 1975, and if it deteriorates further the most meaningful comparisons will be to the Great Depression, General Electric Co (GE.N) Chief Executive Jeff Immelt said on Thursday.

"We're at least to 1974-75," Immelt said at a Wall Street Journal Executive Breakfast event in New York.

"Once you break through '74-'75, you don't stop 'til you get to 1929," he said. "Unlike the other downturns that I've been a part of, this one is faced with limited liquidity. if liquidity exists, it's not coming back readily, that's why the government's role in this cycle is so gosh-darned important."

He added that in his recent travels to India, Turkey, the Middle East and other places GE does business, the mood is not nearly as bad as in the United States, partly because those places "didn't have the kind of leverage that we had in this country or in the UK."

Reporting by Nick Zieminski, editing by Dave Zimmerman

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