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GE Makes Good on Jobs Promises

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In this gloomy economic climate, we watched small businesses across the country lay off thousands of workers and shutter their doors while some of our most robust companies moved overseas. So-called “expatriate corporations” like Halliburton (HAL), Tyco International (TYC) and Global Crossing (GLBC) bypassed greedy old uncle Sam and relocated their headquarters to more tax-friendly parts of the world.

The lesser of evils was China coming to the rescue of our dying American manufacturers. This has been the case in places like Saginaw, Michigan where Pacific Century Motors, controlled by Aviation Industry Corp. of China and Beijing E-town International Investment salvaged auto-parts maker Nexteer Automotive and kept its 3,000 jobs from being hauled to the junkyard.

So it’s certainly big news -- and good news -- when one of our own decides to stay put while putting more people to work. And what could be better than an American corporation adding jobs to the economy? Giving those jobs to veterans.

As part of a partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce called “Hiring Our Heroes,” General Electric’s (GE) aviation arm will employ 5,000 reservists over the next five years and sponsor hundreds of job fairs for veterans this year. Three new facilities are scheduled to open in Ellisville, Mississippi; Auburn, Alabama; and Dayton, Ohio, next year. Eventually, GE plans to add or rehab an additional 13 factories and create 12,000 new jobs.

Last week, GE began manufacturing its first new product line in more than half a century at its revitalized Appliance Park plant in Louisville. The production of GE’s upcoming hybrid water heater marked the company’s first occasion of making good on a 2009 promise to spend $1 billion on new jobs in the US by 2014.

Granted, GE doesn’t exactly need a tax shelter abroad. It’s done quite well right here at home on that front, considering it paid no federal taxes in 2010 on its billions in profit. But at least our sixth largest firm is reinvesting $580 million of its spoils back into the place from where they were brought forth.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.