Ford CEO: GDP needs to expand for job growth

The Ford Motor company reported Friday the highest fourth-quarter profit in its history -- net income of more than $13 billion. Most of that, though, was because of a one-time change in Ford's accounting.

Ford's CEO is Alan Mulally, who spent most of his career as an engineer at Boeing and led the design of the giant 777. He took over Ford in 2006 and mortgaged the company to borrow enough money to transform it.

"CBS News Evening" anchor Scott Pelley sat down with Mulally to ask why businesses aren't being more aggressive with their big reserves of cash. A transcript follows.

Pelley: At this moment, banks are holding onto about a trillion dollars in cash -- trillion with a 't.' Businesses are holding onto about a trillion dollars in cash. And yet, we don't make much headway in unemployment. Why not?

Mulally: I think there's general agreement with economists that until we get the growth rate of expansion of the GDP of our economic engine up over 3.5 percent -- that's what is required to bring down the unemployment.

GDP growth in Q4: Good, not great

Pelley: But people want to know with businesses holding onto a trillion dollars worth of cash, what are you waiting for? Why aren't creating jobs?

Mulally: What's happening right now is that customers are concerned. They're not quite sure where we're going as a country. And so they're very concerned about making the purchases that they would normally consider. In the automobile industry -- in Ford's case -- the average age of our vehicle now is nearly 11 years old. And people really do want these new fuel-efficient vehicles. But until they start to get some confidence -- that they know where we're going as a country, that they're gonna have a job, [and] we're going to be growing -- it's going to be very hard for them to make those big decisions.

  • Scott Pelley

    Correspondent, "60 Minutes"