What Happened To GE? : Planet Money General Electric used to be a household name — a pillar of the U.S. economy. Now, it's fighting to survive.
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What Happened To GE?

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
President Barack Obama looks at a turbine during a tour in 2011 of the General Electric plant in Schenectady, N.Y., with then GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt (left) and plant manager Kevin Sharkey.
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

For almost a century, General Electric was a powerhouse of the American economy, a byword for progress, innovation, and excellence.

GE did everything, from light bulbs to jet engines to medical devices to banking. And it was that last little venture that turned out to be a bridge too far. GE got into the business just ahead of the financial crisis, and once the dust from that debacle had settled, GE found itself more than a little dinged up. A decade later, the company still hasn't recovered. Today on The Indicator, we find out what brought GE to its knees.

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Note: the audio has been updated with a correction after saying GE created the jet engine.