CINCINNATI -- The chief executive of General Electric Co. thinks President Barack Obama's economic-stimulus efforts will pay off eventually in fighting the recession.
"The government has taken broad action," CEO Jeffrey Immelt said in an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer published Wednesday. "President Obama has pumped nearly $1 trillion into the economy ... and my sense is that, over time, these things will work."
Immelt told The Enquirer that he also sees some reasons for encouragement. Immelt was in his native Cincinnati area on Tuesday to visit the GE Aviation operations. That division has been one of the bright spots in recently stormy times for the Fairfield, Conn., company.
"Our orders aren't bad given the state of the economy," he said. "I was at our appliance business in Louisville yesterday, and while our variance over last year was still negative for March, it wasn't as badly negative as in February.
"You see certain signs that things are stabilizing, but nonetheless this is a very difficult economy and we've got to be prepared for a range of possible events as we look forward," Immelt said.
Immelt is on Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, meant to provide outside-the-Beltway input to the president.
"One of the advantages of having a company like GE represented on a panel like that is our breadth both from an industry standpoint as well as a global standpoint," he said.
He said Obama is trying to reach out and has been in touch with members as sounding boards.
GE, which makes everything from light bulbs to jet engines, has seen its share price plummet from the high $30s to as low as $5.72 last month, since missing its first-quarter earnings forecast last April.