The Jobs Czar: General Electric's Jeffrey Immelt

How will GE's CEO Jeff Immelt help President Obama solve America's biggest domestic problem: unemployment? Hint: Half of GE's profits come from overseas.

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Immelt: You know, with the currency weaker, with wage-rates inflation lower here than the rest of the world, we think the U.S. can be quite competitive.

Stahl: What struck me is that the new plants don't hire a lot of people. You talk about hundreds instead of thousands. And I wonder, as you bring in new factories: they are so automated.

Immelt: You're going to have fewer people that do any task. In the end, it makes the system more productive and more competitive. But when you walk thru Mississippi, for every person that was in that plant, there's probably seven or eight in the supply chain.

Stahl: A lot of the jobs we saw were $13-an hour jobs. That's really not the ticket, is it, to a really vibrant middle class.

Immelt: We have a range. When we go out and recruit, let's say hire 1,000 people at between $15 and $17 an hour, we get 50,000 applicants. So I think you've gotta start somewhere and ...but we want to hire more people.

But here's the problem when it comes to creating jobs: the inflow's a trickle; the main event is still overseas. In places like Brazil, once known for sun, samba and soccer, now one of the world's fastest growing economies. Brazil is buying more GE products than almost any other country. It's no wonder they have a GE company town 90 minutes from Rio.

Stahl: You hear GE and you think Schenectady, New York. Lynn, Massachusetts. Petropolis, Brazil?

Immelt: It's the world we live in today, Lesley. This is where we have to be today to be successful.

And they are wildly successful in Brazil.

Where GE is growing at a rate of 35 percent a year compared to one percent in the U.S. Immelt showed us around a GE locomotive plant.

Immelt: If you go back five, 10, 15 years, maybe we made 30 or 40 locomotives here, you know, Lesley, we're now making 150.

Stahl: That's the horn?

Immelt: So just push? I need one of these in my office.

GE has become so global that more than half of its 300,000 workers are now overseas. We spoke to him on the floor of GE's jet engine servicing plant in Petropolis.

Stahl: How much of your revenues, now, come from overseas?

Immelt: Sixty percent.

Stahl: Sixty percent of GE's revenue is foreign.

Immelt: When I became CEO it was 30. Now, I wish all our customers were in Chicago. I mean everything about the U.S. is easier than doing business here, but this is where the growth is.

Stahl: You know, it's like a bucket of ice on your head. I don't think we have caught up to the reality of how much the world is consuming and-- and how we're slippin' back.

Immelt: You know, I-- I don't think it has to be all bad news. I still think there's lots of things we can do in the U.S., but the customers are here. And, and that's just the way it is.