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Top CEO Warns US Economy Could Get Worse


The chief executive officer of the one of the world's largest companies is warning the U.S. economy could get worse.

General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt said Wednesday the U.S. economy is the toughest it has been since 2001 and that the country "could see even more difficult times ahead."

Immelt also said GE would increase its planned cost-cutting from $2 billion to $3 billion to better meet its financial commitments.

Earlier this month, GE reported a 12 percent decline in first quarter profits, sparking the biggest sell-off of its shares in 20 years.

GE is closely watched by economists because it is a very large company which produces everything from jet engines to television programs.

Immelt spoke at the company's annual shareholders meeting at GE's transportation business headquarters in Pennsylvania.

General Electric is the world's fourth largest company, based on a market value of $324 billion.

Some economists say it could soon be passed by Russia's Gazprom, a producer of natural gas.

Soaring energy prices have boosted Gazprom's market value to $320 billion over the past year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Bloomberg.