General Electric chief executive officer Jeff Immelt, speaking at the Detroit Economic Club, told listeners in the hard-hit city that it was time for America to rebuild its manufacturing base. "While some of America's competitors were throttling up on manufacturing and R&D, we de-emphasized technology... Our economy tilted instead toward the quicker profits of financial services," Immelt said, according to Reuters.
Immelt went on to say that manufacturing work should represent 20 percent of jobs, about twice its current level. In the decades following World War II, manufacturing employment made up about 30 percent of jobs, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The comments from Immelt struck noted economic commentator Peter Schiff as ironic.